A Wireless Sensor Network to Observe Bird Life

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Field biologists and ecologists have started to open a new avenue of inquiry at greater spatial and temporal resolution, allowing them to “observe the unobservable” through the use of wireless sensor networks. Study of birds has helped to develop fundamental knowledge of bird behavior, foraging pattern and migration. The acquired knowledge of birds has contributed to build concepts, like evolution, and applications, such as mitigating risk of bird-strikes and protecting endangered species. Traditional bird life monitoring approaches, like satellite telemetry are not capable to provide the insights in a greater resolution and suffer from large delay to deliver data. In this thesis we present the communication mechanism of BirdTracking, a wireless sensor network to observe bird life for a complete annual bird-cycle. One of the main challenges of a sensor network formed by devices attached to birds is the disrupted connectivity due to mobility and habitat of birds. We propose CHIRP, a routing protocol that utilizes the behavior and mobility of birds to transmit sensor data to a collection point. In order to evaluate CHIRP, we implemented it on a wireless network simulator over a mobility model created by real life traces of a colonial bird (gull) and a territorial bird (honey buzzard). We compare CHIRP against direct transmission and an epidemic routing scheme. Our simulation results show that CHIRP achieves significant improvement in data delivery as compared to direct transmission while consuming less resources than the epidemic routing scheme.