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**LunAero: Automated "Smart" Hardware for Recording Video of Nocturnal Migration** - Wesley T. Honeycutt ( - Alyse V. Heaston - Jeffrey F. Kelly - Eli S. Bridge All contributors are affiliated with: Oklahoma Biological Survey University of Oklahoma 111 Chesapeake St. Norman, OK 73019 USA --- Components of this project are covered under the GPL-3.0 and CERN-OHL-1.2 for software and hardware portions, respectively. --- Abstract: Moon watching is a method of quantifying nocturnal bird migration by focusing a telescope on the moon and recording observations of flying birds silhouetted against the lunar surface. Although simple and well-established, researchers use moon watching infrequently due in part to the hours of late night observation it requires. To reduce the labor entailed in moon watching, we designed a low-cost system called LunAero that can track and record video of the moon at night. Here we present a proof-of-concept prototype that can serve as a platform for citizen scientists interested in observing nocturnal bird migration. We tested the video recording on clear nights from February 2018 to May 2019 when the moon was full or nearly full. Manual analysis of a 1.5 hour sample of video revealed a total of 450 birds, which is a much higher detection rate than previous moon watching efforts have yielded. The hardware described in this paper is part of a larger effort that also involves software development (currently underway) to automate the process of analyzing recorded video. We argue that LunAero can greatly reduce the labor involved in moon watching and offers improved data quality as well as other advantages over traditional moon watching, including insights into social behavior and wind-drift compensation in migrating birds. --- If you would like to make contributions to existing subcomponents, please use the Github Issue tracking system to make/pull request changes.
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