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ISSN : 1976-6769(Print)
ISSN : 2287-8122(Online)
Korean Journal of Nature Conservation Vol.6 No.1 pp.27-32

산림생태계에서 둥지탐색시스템 개발과 적용

박찬열*, 양희문1, 오정학1, 강인수2
1국립산립과학원 산림생태연구과,

Development of “Nest Finder System” and its Application in Forest Ecosystems

Chan Ryul Park*, Hee Moon Yang1, Jeong Hak Oh1, Insoo Kang2
Division of Forest Ecology, Korea Forest Research Institute
2Woori Science Co.,
(Received 12 March 2012; Revised 23 May 2012; Accepted 30 May 2012)


We developed the “Nest Finder System” to detect the breeding ecology of cavity nesters. Nest Finder Systemis composed of three parts, camera, transfer and recorder parts. In camera part, we utilized three types like pincamera, CCTV camera and endoscope with CMOS lens. Electricity and information was transferred with cablelines, and the information were directly recorded into sony digital recorder (GV-HD 700) or hard disk. Tosurvey the breeding status of cavity nester, we disassembled the cone lens (TVC-MN4428C) applicable to enterthe natural tree hole ranging no less than 30 mm. To support the camera and transfer part reaching at the holelocated about 15m height, we used a couples of carbon poles in size of 1.8m, and its slender ending part wasdesigned to fit each other. Nest Finder System can be applied to monitor breeding status of forest wildlifeincluding cavity nesters, canopy nesters and aquatics. We discussed the potential problem in applying theequipment and analyzing the obtained data. Nest Finder System enable us to monitor the inner part of nestlocated at the upper part of trees not only coniferous and deciduous forests, and it can be applied to monitor thebreeding ecology of aquatic organism.

27-32 박찬열(E).pdf6.60MB

1. Introduction

 Cavity nesters including woodpeckers, mandarian ducks and tits utilize tree hole and cavity to breed their juveniles. So, researcher have a trouble in getting the breeding data of cavity nesters, sometimes it is inevitable to damage the inner part of cavity nests to observe the breeding status of cavity nesters. Among birds, predators nest on open nest can be easily monitored with camera system (Renfrew and Ribic, 2003; Choi et al., 2008). But, some cavity nesters do breed on snags which are easily broken by climbing or access, so researchers have an restrict access to the nest (Copeyon, 1990). So, breeding data of cavity nesters can be biased or misunderstood. However, recent advance in sensor networks including high resolution pin camera and recording technique enable us to apply them into wildlife ecology.

Traditionally, cavities have been monitored using a small drop light and mirror to record breeding information. Other researchers have used a fiberscope (Purcell, 1997; Pietz et al., 1999). Both methods require that tree be climbed, which is very laborintensive and time-consuming. Ouchley et al. (1994) and Proudfoot (1996) described miniature, polemounted video systems to examine open bole nests and owl nest boxes. However, these systems were built in-house, and neither design was suitable to examine cavity nesters because the camera housing would not fit into the cavity entrance. In USA, TreeTop Peeper (tm) II (Miller, 2002; VerCauteren et al., 2002), a commercially available, pole-mounted video system was designed to inspect red-cockaded woodpecker cavities and determine nest stage or contents of cavities from the ground (Richardson et al. 1999; Gervais and Rosenberg, 1999; Gervais et al., 2000). However, it is expensive to use the developed tree top peeper, and it is applicable to survey the coniferous tree standing upright. In Korea, many cavity nesters do breed at deciduous trees, especially at maeulsoop (typical type of Korean village grove, Park et al., 2006). Korean cavity nesters breed at deciduous old trees and coniferous trees, and they can be classified into two groups, one is primary cavity nesters such as woodpeckers, the other is secondary cavity nesters like mandarian ducks, tits, tricolor flycatchers and starlings. So, upright TreeTop Peeper is not so effective to detect the breeding status of cavity nester at spinning deciduous trees. Therefore, this study was conducted to develop the proper equipments applicable to Korean situation to monitor cavity nester, canopy nester and aquatic organism.

2. Study areas and Methods

2.1. Study areas

We selected three areas, Jeju experimental forests at Seogwipo city, Hongreung forests at Seoul city and maeulsoop at Jinan county. Major forest types of Jeju experimental forests (JEFs) are evergreen forests, such as Quercus acuta, Castanopsis sieboldii, Neolitsea aciculata and N. sericea and deciduous forests such as Carpinus laxiflora, Quercus serrata and Styrax japonica. Some areas of JEFs are occupied with Cedar plantation forests and forest wetlands (Kim et al., 2009). At Hongreung forests, we tested if the nest finder can be applicable to nestbox monitoring. In Jinan maeulsoops we conducted to apply the nest finder to detect the cavity nesters at deciduous trees (Table 1).

Table.1. Three study areas to develop and apply the video camera systems.

2.2. Video camera systems

Video camera systems consist of camera parts, transfer line parts and recorder & viewer parts. With respect to target birds and field condition, we applied four types of camera parts. To monitor breeding tits at artificial nestbox, we utilized pin camera of sony HAC color image CCD lens with no weatherproof function, and we utilized the two types of relatively large sized ultrared lens like sony HAC color image CCD II and 1/3'' Sony EX-View CCD(IR-D99RP). And we used the endoscope of CMOS color image with LED illumination lens in size of 9mm, which have a narrow field angle compared with others. The last endoscope can be applied to seek and find the nest status of cavity nesters, and to monitor the underwater organism like salamander and aquatic animals.

In the use of transfer line, we used two types, one is video and electric power (DC) cable and the other is 4p cable lines for CCTV, which enable us to record the sound and video. To reach the camera and transfer line at the high part of trees, we designed a couples of carbon poles in size of 1.8m, its slender ending part can be connected tightly with each other. To record the breeding information at hard disk, we applied DVR recorder with 4CH, which is powered by AC 220V or DC 12V. Hard disks can be replaceable and their size depend on the recording periods and data size. Before installing the recording system, we should detect the breeding status by direct observation, we utilized the sony GV-HD VCR recorder to view the actual screen (Table 2).

Table.2. Video camera systems to detect the breeding status of cavity nesters.

3. Results and Discussions

3.1. Application to nestbox

We set up the pin camera to monitor inside of nestbox at the upper cover plate of nestbox, and installed CCD ultrared color image lens within the focus distance outside nestbox during breeding period of 2009 and 2010. Breeding nests were occupied with Great tit (Parus major) and Varied tit (Parus varius). Breeding data like egg size, prey type and prey frequency were successfully recorded. However, onset of install timing decided the success or failure of video recording system. We would recommend that video system should be installed as soon as possible before hatching. During two years we set up four systems at nest, and tits gave up one nest due to mismatch (late install) of install timing. After hatching, tits showed the high sensitivity on the camera system. Until now, we just utilize the AC electric power to work the recorder, but it is possible to use solar panel and electric condenser at remote regions where AC power is not available. We exchanged the breeding nest with new ones, that is to say, we carefully moved all nest materials into new nest attached with pin camera. And, we sealed attaching part of pin camera with glue for weatherproof. To shorten the install time, it needs to set up the focus of pin lens and sealing treatment beforehand before installing nestbox at the field. Recorder should be set up depart from nest to diminish the disturbance to nestbox.

Figure.1. Pin and CCTV camera to monitor the breeding status of tits at nestbox.

3.2. Application to open nest

We set up the ultrared CCD camera to monitor open nest such as Chinese sparrowhawk (Accipiter soloensis), Vinous-throated parrotbill (Paradoxornis webbiana), Fairy pitta (Pitta nympha), Barn swallow (Hirundo rustica) and Stonechats (Saxicola torquata). In open nest, as parents visit or transfer prey to nest, they can touch the camera, so the direction of camera can be easily changed. Also, predator can utilize the installed camera as a cue to detect the prey like eggs or juvenile birds. So, the delicate treatment will be demanded to setup the video recording for open nester. We utilized the bars or some natural sticks in the front of nest entrance or near nest before birds select the nests. Therefore, success rate of video recording was relatively low compared with that of cavity nest (Figure 2). To successfully record the breeding status, it is an essential point to recognize and develop know-how such as the camouflage of camera or camera acclimation to birds at open nest.

Figure.2. CCTV camera to monitor the breeding status of open nest (Left: Vinous-throated parrotbill, Right: Chinese sparrowhawk).

3.3. Application to find the cavity nest

To know the nest owner at cavity nest, we utilized the two type of lens, one is pin type with CCD lens and the other is endoscope with CMOS lens. We disassembled the cone lens (TVC-MN4428C) applicable to enter the natural tree hole ranging no less than 30 mm. The lens of pin type need a light to scrutinize the inner part of cavity nest, so we utilized a miniature electric bulb. Two cameras need a transfer line and supporting bars made of carbon material reaching at the height of 15m with connection of 1.8m bar with each other. Each bar was connected and attached slender part with the other, so bars can endure the weight of lines and cameras. It takes about half hour to survey total 50 nest in cedar forests. In deciduous forest, we utilized the endoscope with CMOS lens at camera part, which has a narrow field angle than pin type. It was easy to handle and detect the nest at deciduous forests (Figures 3, 4, 5).

Figure.3. Application of nest finder to white-backed woodpecker (left & middle) and starlings' nest (right).

Figure.4. Waterproof bellows endoscope with LED lights (left) and transfer line (right, video & DC power).

Figure.5. The conceptual drawing of nest finder (left) and actual photo of nest finder (right) at the hole of Japanese cedar tree (a miniature bulb attached with cone lens).

3.4. Application to aquatic organism

In the process of monitoring the egg-laying date of Jeju salamander, we applied the endoscope into searching the pregnant females. Endoscope did not affect the behavior of Jeju salamander, so it enable us to get the video which female lays egg and male ejects sperm underwater (Figure 6).

Figure.6. Application of endoscope to Jeju salamander under water.

3.5. Problem in data analysis

Nest finder system can be defined as an equipment to detect the breeding status of cavity nester and aquatic organism with CCD pin lens and CMOS endoscope. We suggest that relative wide lens of CCD pin will be efficient to apply at trees, however endoscope lens with narrow field angle can be applicable in all trees and wetlands. To analyze the daily frequency of prey transfer, it is possible to use two types of lens, pin lens and waterproof CCD lens. To record the video at hard disk, it takes about one month with 500 GB hard disk. To analyze the video, it takes no more than same recording time or additional time, so it needs to develop the analytical tools on video analysis. There was commercial program to view the specific video, but it can pass the important change of animal motion. So, it takes labor-intensive and time consuming works to analyze the recorded video. In the view of application, pin lens in size of 3 cm can enter all entrances of cavity nests, however pin lens has no perfect weatherproof, so it needs a weatherproof treatments. Meanwhile, endoscope has a good weatherproof function, but its narrowed angle of view took more time to survey and detect target organism rapidly. Therefore, we suggest that proper preparation of camera should be applied and delicate consideration of install timing and location are needed according to field condition and target organism (Table 3). In view of price, our systems are more cheap than previous developed system. And, everyone who want to monitor and study the cavity nester can buy and prepare the system.

Table.3. Video camera systems to detect the breeding status of cavity nesters.


 Some parts of this study were financially supported by forest science project grant no. 500-20080086.


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