Forecasting bird food hunt using computer models

An ultra-light smart sensor fitted to a bird can tell whether the bird is travelling, hunting or eating. Researcher Bruce Yu developed this technique to get a better understanding of the behaviour of birds. This will help scientists figure out how birds are adapting to climate change.

“I have always been interested in animals,” says Bruce Yu. That was why he switched from geophysics to ecology as a young scientist. Now Yu is a researcher in the Experimental Zoology chair group, where he uses machine learning – a form of artificial intelligence – to figure out the behaviour of birds.

Flying is a very energy-intensive form of locomotion and migratory birds cover large distances. That makes it interesting to study the flight movements of migratory birds. How do they make progress, how do they behave and how do they manage their energy? If they have to go to a lot effort to find food because it has become scarcer due to climate change, perhaps they will be too exhausted to feed their young. This is important information for nature conservationists.

Data loggers let us track the migratory birds for longer periods and in more detail
Researcher Bruce Yu