Live Bird Migration Station

Welcome to the PixCams Live Bird Migration Station

The PixCams Live Bird Migration Station is a unique bird migration station that combines several types of technologies to study and watch the spring & fall bird migration in south western Pennsylvania. This migration station is located in Murrysville, PA and will run year round for collecting citizen science data. This station combines live streaming optical and thermal cameras, and a real-time bioacoustics for analyzing nocturnal flight calls (NFCs). Link for BirdCast PA Dashboard for Westmoreland County, PA daily migration data. For technical information click here for the PixCams Bird Migration Station Blog Post.

Live Optical Camera View

Live Thermal Camera View

Note: The optical camera and thermal camera will automatically turn off from 10 AM – 4 PM EST daily to protect the thermal camera from direct sunlight.  

Current Weather Conditions

Videos Captured with the Optical/Thermal Camera (YouTube Playlist)


How the System Works

The PixCams Bird Migration Station includes the following components:

  • Hikvision Bispectrum Thermal & Optical IP Camera: Optical 1080P Resolution, Thermal 720P Resolution
  • Old Bird 21c Nocturnal Flight Call Microphone
  • BirdNET-Pi AI Acoustic Bird Call ID System
  • EZ Streamer Video Encoder

The system first captures the audio call of the bird migrating at night with a specially designed microphone for this purpose, the Old Bird 21c microphone designed by Bill Evans

Acoustic monitoring offers several advantages over other methods of monitoring populations namely because it allows researchers to identify species. Other techniques, such as radar, can identify numbers of birds but lack the species information found in night calls.

The Nocturnal Flight Call (NFC) acoustic signal is then analyzed the BirdNET real-time AI bird identification system. BirdNET converts the incoming audio data into Spectrograms that are analyzed through the BirdNET Neural Network for species identification. The BirdNET data is available to anyone in the above window or at this public domain: Migration BirdNET Station

The thermal camera is used to view large flocks of birds migrating at night. The thermal camera will pick up the heat signature of large flocks and the live video from the camera and audio from the NFC microphone is encoded into a live video stream for YouTube using our EZ Streamer video encoder

Migration Station Diagram

Nocturnal Migration Useful Links

Online NFC field guide from Bill Evans and Michael O’Brien

Nocturnal Flight Calls Facebook group

BirdCast bird migration forecasting service

BirdVox – Machine Listening for Bird Migration Monitoring

How well does the thermal camera work?

See the below example. We captured a video of a large bird migrating at 2:43 AM during the fall migration on 8/18/2022. This video was captured under very foggy weather conditions. See the Optical Video vs Thermal Video to see how well a thermal camera can pick up the heat signature of a bird through heavy fog flying at a high altitude. 

Optical Video

Thermal Video

Camera direction, zoom, and location

Below are several images that show what direction the camera is facing, the zoom of the thermal camera relative to the optical camera, and the location of the PixCams Bird Migration Station.

The top of the camera image is facing north. This will give you an indication of the flight direction of the birds moving across the image. You will also notice that you see more area around the edges of the optical camera that you do not see in the thermal camera. This is because the thermal camera is zoomed in with respect to the optical camera. The graphic will demonstrate the field of view of the thermal camera compared to the optical camera. Lastly, the PixCams Bird Migration Station is located in Murrysville, PA as shown on the map.

Because the top of thermal imager is toward the north, and the camera is pointing upward, east is on the left side and west is on the right side of the display. Also, the field of view of the optical camera is larger than the thermal camera as shown above.