Federal Wildlife Researchers Use ex-Army UAS to Count Sandhill Cranes

Researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have used unmanned aircraft in three trials to count the number of sandhill cranes that visit the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge and found them to be a safe alternative for both birds and scientists.
“What these systems do is they help to more quickly fly over the cranes,” said Leanne Hanson, a USGS biologist who is overseeing the use of the aircraft. “They don’t flush the birds so there’s no mid-air collision potential.”

More than 20,000 cranes typically make a stopover in the valley from late February to April.

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