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Falcon Watch

by msecadm4921

Network video product company Axis Communications has provided an AXIS 241QA Video Server to convert analog into digital images to share the progress of peregrine falcons nesting on Derby Cathedral.

The falcons first nested on the cathedral in 2006, aided by a partnership between Derby Museum and Art Gallery, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust and Derby Cathedral. Since then the same pair of birds have raised 11 chicks. The birds’ progress has been monitored by analog cameras and the images brought onto the network thanks to an AXIS 241QA Video Server.

The Derby Cathedral Peregrine Project was keen to be able to monitor the progress of the birds to understand behaviors and also to be able to access and share images and information with others 24 hours a day. An AXIS 241QA Video Server was chosen so that it could transform the analog CCTV footage into digital images so that a live feed could be viewed from anywhere in the world via the project’s website and blog; it also enables enthusiasts to send links and images to social networking sites including photo website Flickr.

Nick Moyes, senior keeper of natural sciences at Derby Museum & Art Gallery explains: “Although three analog cameras were installed on the nest, the Axis video server gives us all the flexibility we need to run the project. We’re delighted we chose a four-channel model with audio capability. Not only does it give us the ability to add new cameras, but sound brings an added dimension to the video clips that we post on our blog and have also been included in a fund-raising DVD. The quality and digitization of the video clips means that they have been used in nature programmes including BBC’s Springwatch.

“Using the Axis 241QA video server, we can switch camera feeds to our web pages whether we’re at work or at home. We have it set up so that images from all four cameras can be viewed on a single page. We have also been able to build a controller so we can now remotely zoom and focus our main nest camera, thanks to the helpful wiring diagram of the video server in its user manual. Taking snapshots for adding to our blog is really easy, and the device also seemed quite tolerant when we split the video feeds so that we have 24 hour DVD/HDD recording to capture those magic moments.”

The peregrines are proving to be popular Derby residents as by the time the four young chicks had flown the nest this month, the project webcam pages had taken over 400,000 visitor hits this year. Webcam watchers had posted over a thousand webcam screen captures to Flickr and left over 3,000 comments on the project’s blog.

Phil Doyle, managing director, UK & Ireland, Axis Communications said of the project: “This project is so exciting and it’s great that technology can play its part in understanding these magnificent birds. Being able to make the most of the original investment in analog cameras was a very important consideration for the project, but in order to share images and maintain interest from around the world, it was imperative that the live feeds could be shared over the Internet and the AXIS 241QA Video Server was crucial to making that happen.”

The Derby Cathedral Peregrine Project is now working with Derbyshire Wildlife Trust to develop school and other outreach activities so that more people can appreciate peregrine falcons. For more information and to view live feeds to the platform – visit www.derby.gov.uk/peregrines

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