Researchers to conduct drone flights for turkey and pheasant monitoring


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A group of four wild turkeys grouped together
Photo by Doug Kuehn


This document is provided for archival purposes only. Archived documents do not reflect current WDFW regulations or policy and may contain factual inaccuracies.

News release

Contact: Jennifer Becar, 564-669-0850

OLYMPIA – Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) staff and University of Idaho Drone Lab researchers will fly drones over known turkey and pheasant locations over the next few months to test whether drones are a useful tool for monitoring these birds.

Flights will take place in the department’s Eastern region (Region 1) encompassing Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Garfield, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens, Walla Walla, and Whitman counties.

The purpose of this pilot research project is to test which drones can accurately detect birds in various habitats and flight conditions. Researchers will also recommend the most appropriate ways biologists can use drones to survey turkeys and pheasants over time to improve monitoring efforts.

Flights will take place from March through August 2023 in compliance with all federal and state regulations. Flight timing will depend on the presence of birds and suitable flight conditions.

WDFW works to preserve, protect and perpetuate fish, wildlife and ecosystems while providing sustainable fish and wildlife recreational and commercial opportunities.

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