DONG Energy has funded a trial of a high specification drone counting cliff-nesting seabirds at a Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) reserve on the Yorkshire coast.
The trial took place at Bempton Cliffs, a site which attracts over 250,000 birds annually, providing a breeding ground for many of them.
A drone, provided by environmental consultancy NIRAS, was used to see if the technology was suitable to carry out future surveys of cliff-nesting seabirds.
The survey data is used by the RSPB and will also help as DONG Energy makes plans for the development of offshore wind farms off the Yorkshire coast, such as Hornsea Project Three, the offshore wind developer said.
The drone was able to get close enough to the colony to provide imagery of a resolution sufficient to distinguish between the different bird species, whilst ensuring that the breeding seabirds were not disturbed.