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News

IP Video Encoders Help Keep Watch On Falcons

Axis Communications : 19 March, 2012  (Application Story)
Wireless analogue cameras provided with high quality video encoding for distribution across IP network for monitoring Peregrine Falcons at the Hawk and Owl Trust
IP Video Encoders Help Keep Watch On Falcons
The Hawk and Owl Trust is a national UK charity. Its work is dedicated to conserving owls and other birds of prey in the wild, and increasing knowledge and understanding of them. It works with partners to conserve the places owls and other wild birds nest and it also manages nesting, roosting and feeding habitats. It also encourages visitors to its wildlife reserves, education centres and outreach projects.

The Peregrine Falcon is a rare bird for Norfolk, with only one breeding pair being recorded within the last 100 years. So when a pair was spotted flying around Norwich Cathedral, the Hawk and Owl Trust asked the authorities if they could construct a nesting platform, 250 feet up the Cathedral’s spire, with cameras to stream live video into the visitor centre should the birds decide to breed.

The Hawk and Owl Trust and Cathedral authorities had to reconcile the contrasting needs of nature and architectural conservation to provide a new home for the birds with high quality, full frame rate live video streamed constantly and recorded at the Hawk and Owl Trust.

Although power was available within reach of the proposed nesting platform, there were no data connections. In order to comply with the Cathedral’s architectural conversation rules, the Hawk and Owl Trust appreciated that no additional cables could be used and so a wireless connection was needed to power the camera.

With extensive experience of using iCode Systems’ iCatcher Console at its award winning Sculthorpe Moor Nature Reserve nearby, The Hawk and Owl Trust decided to use it for this project to take care of the full frame rate, broadcast quality recording and remote viewing.

David Gittens from The Hawk and Owl Trust said: “I am totally convinced that the iCatcher based system was the right way to go.

“It is vital that the footage provided by the camera be of excellent quality so that we could closely monitor and share footage of the birds.”

The Hawk and Owl Trust’s next requirement was to evaluate which cameras and wireless solution would work best for their needs. As an Axis partner, iCode was able to recommend that a high resolution external camera should be used and converted to IP using AXIS Q7404 H.264 video encoders.

Axis video encoders convert analogue video signals into high quality, digital video streams that are sent over an IP network. They are easy to connect to analogue pan/tilt/zoom (PTZ) cameras, allowing for easy operation across the IP network making the images far easier to search through and share.

The Trust then used the iCatcher Console to stream the footage wirelessly via the robust Ubiquit’s NanoStation.

Volunteers from Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service helped the Cathedral’s foreman install the platform and hardware through a window in a spire. Great care was taken to fit in with the Cathedral’s architectural style, such as having the platform painted to match its stone.

“The nesting platform has worked as planned and the breeding pair moved to the platform, so we are delighted that we have been able to record these rare birds of prey,” said Gittens.

“The real time access delivered by this high quality footage gives us a real insight into the life of these magnificent birds.”

Footage taken from the cameras is of such a high quality that the local news station was able to use it to showcase the project. The footage has also proved to be an invaluable educational tool for The Hawk and Owl Trust.
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