Using radar to evaluate seabird abundance and habitat use at the Fundy Ocean Resource Centre for Energy site near Parrsboro, Nova Scotia

Principal Investigators:

Dr. Philip Taylor, Acadia University

Start Date: April 2018

End Date: September 2018

Shore-based seabird surveys have been conducted at the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy (FORCE) in Parrsboro, NS, to determine abundance, habitat use, and potential risk to seabirds at the site. While these surveys provide a snapshot of bird use and species composition at the site, a more comprehensive monitoring methodology is desirable to fully understand seabird use of the site. An open array Furuno radar unit has been operated at the site since 2015, and each scan from the radar has been archived in .jpg format. The radar data have been used primarily to determine tidal flow through the site, however these scans contain an archive of bird use at the site since birds are distinguishable on the radar scans. The objective of this project is to extract bird presence data from the archived .jpg images to characterize bird use at the site. The resulting data will be used to determine core areas of seabird use at the site, to determine if seabird use changes with the tidal cycle or time of day, to identify seasonal peaks in seabird abundance, and to assess the validity of the observer-based seabird surveys.


Final Report [PDF]