Monitoring Malleefowl mounds with cameras

There is often a need to monitor activity levels associated with Malleefowl mounds. Males, and sometime pairs, will commence mound building or mound maintenance activity in winter and spring planning to lay eggs as the weather warms. The decomposing vegetation raked into the centre of the mound requires moisture for it to decompose at a rate sufficient for it to generate heat. If winter and early spring rains are insufficient, then the mounds will be abandoned as there will be insufficient warmth to incubate the eggs. Similarly, when all the eggs have hatched, mound maintenance will cease.

Motion sensitive and infra-red triggered cameras are an ideal tool for monitoring activity in and around Malleefowl mounds. These cameras can be left at a location for weeks at a time and will generally provide a good record of the frequency and period when parent birds are tending the mound. They are also useful for recording other visitors to an active mound. Egg predators such as goannas, dogs and foxes can be recorded investigating and digging into mounds in search of eggs.

Images below are taken at a mound during a recent fauna survey.

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4 Responses to “Monitoring Malleefowl mounds with cameras”

  1. John Read on February 12th, 2014 3:14 am

    We also use cameras to monitor mounds.
    It would be great to discuss the optimum camera setup (delay between photos) for confirming mound activity/egg laying/hatching and possible predation events without having too many images to sort through.

  2. Scott Thompson on February 12th, 2014 7:09 am

    Standardising a technique would be great as lots of people/companies are starting to use cameras for monitoring. Sadly, most of this data is not rigorously collected and does not get into the public arena for discussion.

  3. Cheyne Jowett on November 24th, 2015 2:04 am

    Hi Team,

    We have a Malleefowl monitoring programme in place within the Great Western Woodlands working in collaboration with Australasian Ecological Services.

    We utilise Scouting Assistant software to sort through the photos.

    Happy to discuss.

  4. Scott Thompson on December 7th, 2015 10:05 am

    Thanks Cheyne for the feedback. It is great to see others also using a similar system. Technology is improving so rapidly now and there are multiple programs available to auto-analyse the photos that are coming through. Some groups have even got the technology sorted to identify individuals for a particular species (i.e. dingoes, wild dogs, Quolls). Are you doing anything with the data (i.e. investigating daily activity patterns) or just using it to determine relative activity on nests to determine breeding success?

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