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5 years of HiDef – 300 flights – 2 million birds

Five years ago, BioConsult SH has started with digital surveys of birds and marine mammals for projects in the North and Baltic seas. Where ornithologists were once counting whales and birds from the aircraft, high-definition cameras now film the sea surface. Evaluation then takes place in the office.

Just in time for the fifth anniversary, an aircraft of our Danish partner Bioflight A/S has touched down for the 300th time with video footage recorded in an aerial survey above the North Sea.

Since the first year, about 250,000 km of transects were covered, which is more than six times around the world. Aircraft were in the air for about 1130 hours corresponding to 47 days. The total area covered is about nine times the size of Schleswig-Holstein or as large as 18.9 million soccer pitches. At a rate of seven recorded frames per second, video footage consisting of about 28.5 million single frames was recorded – and watched.

Thus, our HiDef team colleagues spotted and identified more than 2 million birds. Over 100 species have been identified so far. More than 40,000 seals and whales, mainly harbour porpoises, harbour seals and grey seals, are to be added. We always appreciate highlights like ocean sunfish, basking shark and common minke whale.

We are looking forward to further exciting observations. But above all, we hope that our pilots will continue to always land safely!

Grey heron, harbour porpoises, oystercatcher and barnacle geese recorded in aerial surveys.