Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have become a popular wildlife survey tool. As such, biologists are exploring the use of UAVs for surveying waterfowl. The most cited benefit of using UAVs over traditional methods is the idea of reduced disturbance, but this has had limited formal evaluation across species. We conducted UAV surveys with associated behavioral observations of ducks on wetlands and on nests during the 2019 – 2020 breeding seasons. We found species-specific behaviors among blue-winged teal (Spatula discors), northern shoveler (Spatula clypeata), and gadwall (Mareca strepera) including ducks noticing the aircraft, but reactions were generally less than traditional ground approaches suggesting that as technology increases efficiencies, UAVs may serve as an alternative tool for surveying breeding ducks.
Ryckman, Mason, "Behavioral Responses Of Breeding Ducks To Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Surveys And Best Practices For Breeding Waterfowl Surveys Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles" (2022). Theses and Dissertations. 4289.