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Monitoring Nest Boxes

We have put up more than 1,000 nest boxes for Tawny Owls, Barn Owls, Little Owls and Kestrels in southern England, and they’re vital for these species who raise hundreds of young chicks in them every year. They also provide us with an opportunity to research these amazing British birds of prey and, in our latest project, in order to further our work, we would like to install monitoring units inside nest boxes to discover more about them.

Why is this project important?

These units allow us to regularly see inside a nest box, thereby minimising disruption to the birds, and can give us valuable information about what goes on in our boxes, and how Tawny Owls, Barn Owls, Little Owls and Kestrels are faring in the wild. We will be able to gain an insight into the conditions different species prefer to live and breed in and, along with information about box location and the surrounding area, the types of habitats required for each species to thrive. They also give us important data about breeding behaviour such as:

This sort of data helps provide us with the information we need to inform our conservation actions, so we can ensure these species have the best chance possible for survival.

How does it work?

The units are basically tiny little computers that combine a number of different components. We will construct the units, then install into nest boxes to monitor them. They include a Raspberry Pi (a tiny computer with WiFi and bluetooth) and this is connected to different items to monitor the box, including a camera, a motion sensor, and a temperature and humidity sensor. We’ll be adding a large memory card to each to store all the information.

You can help!

To build these monitoring units, we’re asking for your help to fund the equipment required. We can use each monitoring component separately but the units are most valuable to us as a whole.  If you would like to help us with the costs of these units, we’ve detailed below, how you can help us to fund them.

Item Cost Required Purchased How to purchase
Temperature humidity sensor £6.49 10 6 Our chosen model is currently out of stock. We’re looking for alternatives. Please email conservation@hawkconservancy.org if you would like to buy one of these so we can let you know when we find one.
Camera with night vision £19.99 10 10 We have enough of these now, thank you to everyone who has purchased one for us!
Micro SD 64GB memory card £10.80 10 10 We have enough of these now, thank you to everyone who has purchased one for us!
Motion sensor £3.99 10 0 Available from our Amazon Wishlist.
Raspberry Pi Zero WH £13.50 10 0 Available from the PiHut

Please email conservation@hawkconservancy.org if you intend to buy one of these so we can let you know if anyone else is also planning to buy one and to avoid ending up with too many.

Grove RFID reader £12.00 10 0 Available from the PiHut

Please email conservation@hawkconservancy.org if you intend to buy one of these so we can let you know if anyone else is also planning to buy one and to avoid ending up with too many.

Please note that the number of items requested and the number purchased are updated manually.

 

©2022 Hawk Conservancy Trust