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Thermal Imaging for Birdwatching | Pulsar Vision UK & ROI
Exclusive UK & ROI Pulsar Distributor

Thermal Imaging for Bird Watching

Pulsar devices can effortlessly detect the metabolic heat signature produced by birds, making them the perfect tool for any bird watcher, regardless of whether you are a seasoned professional or a novice just starting out. Because these devices do not emit any artificial light or infrared illumination, you can carry out your observations or surveys by night, without the risk of startling any birds or other wildlife.

How Thermal Imaging Devices Help with Bird Watching

Thermal imaging is an invaluable technology which works to highlight objects that would usually remain invisible in total darkness, daylight, and even in conditions where thermal contrast is low (such as dense fog).

Using infrared radiation and thermal energy, Pulsar thermal imagers gather information about objects through a thermal sensor (microbolometer) attached to a powerful lens (usually made from Germanium), to formulate clear and detailed images of the observed objects.

Check out our selection of videos below to see thermal imaging devices in action as we take several Pulsar devices into the field. You’ll see how these thermal spotter helped us find an elusive Kingfisher in the Warwickshire countryside, or you can watch when we joined the West Midlands Ringing Group for a night of bird ringing in Staffordshire. In each video you’ll discover how thermal imaging devices can help aid with habitat management and wildlife detection.

Understanding Thermal Imaging Device Specifications

Thermal Sensor Size – Similar to digital cameras, thermal sensors are measured in pixels; generally speaking, the bigger the sensor the better the picture, as a larger sensor can capture more detail. Pulsar thermal imagers use one of five differently sized sensors with its own designation:

Thermal Sensor Pixel Pitch – The thermal sensor pitch indicated the distance between the centre of the pixels. A smaller pixel pitch results in finer image quality and a physically smaller thermal sensor, and a larger pixel offers more sensitivity. A sensor with a smaller pixel pitch will achieve a greater base magnification than a device with the same size lens and a greater pixel pitch. Pulsar XL, XM & XG sensors have a 12µm pixel pitch, XQ and XP sensors have a 17µm pixel pitch, as indicated in the image above.

NETD – A device’s Noise Equivalent Temperature Difference (NETD) is a measurement of the smallest temperature difference the device is able to detect. The lower this value, the more sensitive the thermal imager becomes — performing better than a device with a larger NETD value in challenging conditions such as colder temperatures, dense fog, and heavy rain. A device’s NETD rating is an important indicator as to how well it will perform.

Refresh Rate – A high refresh rate (such as 50Hz) is best when choosing a thermal imaging device, as a high refresh rate will result in a smooth image when panning or tracking fast-moving objects.

Pulsar Devices Feature:

Variable Magnification

Variable magnification and digital zoom capabilities provide excellent object recognition at considerable distances. The digital zoom can change by x2 steps or in continuous motion.

Long Life Batteries

Each Pulsar thermal imaging device can achieve flawless observation for long periods of time thanks to their long life batteries, with some devices offering up to 11 hours operation before a battery change is needed.

Built to Last

Magnesium alloy or rubber armour coated polymer bodyshells protect Pulsar devices from bumps and scrapes, and work effectively as heatsinks to disperse warmth generated by the device’s internal electronics.

IPX7 Waterproof

Pulsar devices are all IPX7 waterproof rated, ensuring they continue to work unaffected by extreme conditions, including moisture rich environments and heavy downpours. They’ll even survive a dip in 1 m of water for up to 30 minutes.

AMOLED Displays

Every model features an AMOLED display, which achieved enhanced colour rendering and provides a crystal-clear and smooth picture, even when observed wildlife is in motion.

Stream Vision 2

Built-in Wi-Fi and Stream Vision 2 compatibility opens up a wide selection of connectivity features, including live view, remote control, firmware updates, and more. Find out more here.

Eight Colour Palettes

In general, thermal imagers present their picture in grayscale – with white representing heat, black representing colder regions (or vice versa), and various shades of grey indicating gradients of temperatures between the two. However, for improved identification and differing applications, newer thermal imaging cameras are now able to add colour to the images they produce — using colours such as orange, blue, yellow, red, and purple.

Each model in Pulsar’s range of devices offers 8 colour palettes to achieve more effective observation and to allow the device to adapt and react in varying environmental conditions.

For object detection, use White Hot, Black Hot, and Red Hot; Rainbow and Ultramarine are most effective for object recognition and identification; and Red Monochrome, Sepia, and Violet are best for long periods of observation in total darkness.

Video Recording and Still Image Capture

All Pulsar thermal imaging devices are fitted with built-in video recorders, capturing memorable moments during your wildlife observations and storing hours of videos and tens of thousands of still images onto the device’s internal memory at just the touch of a button.

Footage is easily copied onto a computer using a USB-C cable, or straight from the cloud to your phone via Stream Vision 2 connectivity.

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