Saturday, January 1, 2011

Bird feeding graph

First try - room for improvement

I'm always surprised how fast the birds come when I feed them. The first seagull arrives in a few seconds. They always float in the sky like biological satellites. Then – by some silent bird telegraph – the whole flock of seagulls is attracted.

Sometimes the ducks see the bread first. They live just around the corner. They make a lot of noise and attract all the other ducks to the food. The jackdaws and crows arrive last. They are shy and don't dare to come near while I'm watching. They always try to take away a piece of bread, to some safer place.

I'm trying to solve the puzzle of the bird telegraph. My first attempt was to set up a webcam and to study how the birds arrive and leave.
Preliminary results:
  • The arrival of the birds is lighting fast. They notice that I will be feeding them even before I throw the first piece of bread.
  • In 2 minutes the flock has reached it's maximum, stable size.
  • After 2 minutes the birds start leaving. I assume that they have taken big chunks of bread with them.
  • In 7 minutes all the food – a big bag full of bread and nuts – is gone.
Further research:
  • Where do the birds come from? From what place? From what distance?
  • Does the size of the food determine how long the birds stay?
  • How big is the area in which the birds search for food?
Research method improvements:
  • I need a webcam with a much bigger resolution. It's almost impossible to see the birds. Counting the birds is difficult and error prone.
  • Using a program like CrowdCompiler to map the flight and walk paths of the birds is impossible in such a bad resolution. See these CrowdCompiler results:
  • 15 seconds between pictures is too slow. Things happen much faster than that.
  • I should park the car next to the feeding place and put the camera much nearer to the birds.
Second try - total failure

Today - January 1st - I tried a better setup, 1.2 kg of old bread, put close to my car, webcam all installed and tested. But no birds came. I only saw a few pigeons and jackdaws flying fast and high overhead. Then a flock of 25 seagulls came near but they didn't dare to land and feed. I think they're still in shock from the fireworks of last night.

No comments:

Post a Comment