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SeeTec video surveillance system protects valuable breeding falcons

SeeTec video surveillance system protects valuable breeding falcons

The customer

The customer is operating in a very specialized and highly exclusive business: breeding falcons. The demand for the birds bred in Bavaria mainly comes from the Arab world, with the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia as the main markets. 

As falcons don't become sexually mature until the age of ¬ five or six, good breeding birds attract the attention of illegal procurement networks when breeders want to avoid the expensive rearing process and start breeding immediately with a stolen bird. This is also a reason why the Bavarian falconry decided to use a video surveillance system from SeeTec for safeguarding their breeding efforts. 

For the last six years, the falconry has had around 50 pairs of falcons raising an average of 50 young birds each year, and these young birds are sold exclusively to one importer in the Middle East. In total, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates import around 4,000 hunting birds each year from breeders all over the world. Looking at one of the falconry's unique features, which is what is known as wild flight, the immense e  ort in the rearing process becomes clear. Young falcons are released to the wild after 45 days. The aim and purpose of this activity is for the birds to learn to fly independently. "Falcons who have learned to fly by themselves are more intelligent in every respect, have a more mature flight style and are considered better hunters", explains Josef P., who runs the falconry together with his father. Falconries that train the birds in the wild are therefore generally more successful.

The task

Security is a critical factor for the Bavarian falconry. For this reason, the company's management decided to install a video surveillance system that o¬ffers maximum security, service and ease of use with appealing purchase terms. The order came about thanks to a recommendation by a third party. 

Two requirements for the video system to be installed were central: the reliable protection of the site and the outer skin as well as continuous, uninterrupted observation of the falcons in the aviaries. For this purpose, nonstop recording and archiving of the image data was necessary, in order to permit the required highly reliable and immediate evaluation of a situation in the moving image. E. g. in the event of unauthorized access to the site, the system needed to ensure faultless identi¬fication of the intruder.

Additionally, in the event of an alarm, the system was required to be able to actively send a noti¬fication to mobile devices in order to allow for a swift reaction by staff. Another prerequisite was to monitor the behavior of the falcons in the aviaries at all times without unnecessarily stressing the birds. "We opted for SeeTec because from the start of the project there has always been a personal contact available, even now, after the installation has been completed. What also appealed to us was the comprehensive solution, offering highest security, reliability, and ease-of-use. And also the price structure has proven to be an ideal ¬ t for our requirements", says Josef P.

The solution

The solution was implemented in two development stages: In a   first step, a test environment with two cameras in one of the aviaries was set up. This test system was used for data collection and evaluation purposes as neither the owner of the falconry nor the contractor had any previous experience in how the falcons would react to cameras in their habitat. After successful testing, the second stage was to be the expansion and roll-out of the test environment across the entire operating process and operating site. 

The test system included the installation of two cameras in one aviary. One camera covered the ¬ field of view of the entire aviary. The second camera was directed at the nest, in order to document the oviposition and for monitoring the condition of the young birds after hatching. The image streams from both cameras were managed and visualized using the SeeTec Cayuga video management software. The testing phase went smoothly and received highest praise. Throughout the testing phase, the birds showed a relaxed behavior suggesting that they didn't see the cameras as any kind of threat. But also the convenient and easy-to-use control using the SeeTec Cayuga video management software received positive feedback from the customer. 

In the second stage, the premises of the falconry as well as all 40 aviaries currently on site, were equipped with over 100 cameras provided by Axis. Like in the test, two cameras with two viewing angles of each aviary – overview and nest view – now provide continuous observation and monitoring of the birds. Additional cameras secure the entire premises covering around 800 m2 and protect – in combination with an existing alarm system – against any illegal site access. 

A SeeTec video wall simultaneously displays the images from all cameras installed and gives the falconry a precise overview in real time. The infrared function of the cameras used furthermore ensures continuous monitoring at night as well. And, the recorded archive material provides the basis for more informed decisions on the rearing of the birds.

The results

Another happy customer! The installed solution ful fills all the critical factors: reliability, high availability, continuous archiving, good service, ease-of-use as well as the option to expand the system in the future with additional cameras. Especially the latter was an important requirement, such as if the falconry increases its capacity and constructs additional aviaries. 

"The system has signi¬ficantly simpli¬fied and optimized our processes, resulting in a noticeable improvement in breeding results", says Josef P. In contrast to the original, analogue “surveillance system” where staff members gazed into each of the 40 aviaries through a peephole multiple times a day, the newly installed silent cameras now handle this monitoring function. "The birds are in no way disturbed by the cameras. This is so much better for a stress-free breeding and rearing of the young birds.” 

Video surveillance from SeeTec permits improved checking on the birds 24/7. Continuous video archiving additionally helps to draw conclusions on the health condition of the birds or the reasons for behavioral abnormalities. This so far has only been possible to a very limited extent via observation through the peepholes, or would have involved a considerable larger expenditure of time and resources.

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