posted on Jun, 30 2009 @ 09:27 PM
Some birds show up fairly warm, some do not. I spend hundreds of hours each year observing and recording wildlife with thermal imagers, night vision
and other tech. Here
are some examples from my YouTube channel that you can use for comparison.
The great thing about a thermal imager is that it is very good at locating otherwise camouflaged animals. The bad thing about it is that it can be
very difficult to tell what the animal is, especially if it is slightly obscured by foliage etc. This is why thermal imaging technology has been
largely responsible for the many military friendly fire incidents of recent years. In conditions like in this video I often identify an animal by the
way it moves instead of its shape.
The size of an animal can be very difficult to determine when observed through a thermal imager. This is because you can only see the animal and its
surroundings through the imager's monitor and not with your own eyes like you can with a normal camera. Fortunately they were apparently able to
recreate the scene at the location to determine the size of the animal.
We cannot tell how much warmer than the surrounding objects the animal/person is in this video because we have no information about how the thermal
imager was set at the time. If the operator had been using a larger temperature span we could have seen more detail in the animal/person. It
doesn't look as though the operator would have had much time to fiddle with settings to show more detail once the animal had been spotted.
There are some things in this video that are quite typical of a sighting. First the imager is set with a small temperature span. Although this
reduces detail it increases sensitivity which is ideal for locating animals in the bush. Secondly the footage starts after the animal/person is
spotted. This happens to me all the time because I'm trying to save batteries or recording space on the camcorder. Next, when the operator looses
sight of the animal/person they start to pan the area where the animal is expected to be spotted next. The approach into that area is slow and
unsteady because the operator is concentrating on requiring the animal through the imager rather than paying attention to objects which have to be
navigated around/over safely while basically walking blind. Lastly the animal is not reacquired resulting in a rather poor video sequence. That is
pretty typical. Most of the footage that I acquire that could have been pretty exciting usually ends up being a momentary blob not worth keeping.
Another thing I notice is that when the operator tries to reacquire the animal/person they seem to misjudge where they are aiming and are searching to
low. This is easy to do when you cant see your surroundings. When the image is bouncing it looks like there are glimpses of the very obscured
"thing" a couple of times in the top of the image suggesting that it made a bit of progress further to the right.
Another note, there was a comment I read somewhere that the imager was held at an angle making the "thing" appear to jump vertically when it had
actually moved horizontally. This is definitely not the case. I am very experienced at observing trees through the thermal imager and it is very
obvious to me that they are all pointed strait up and down in the scene. I'm not sure how clear that is to the casual observer so I apologize if I
am pointing out something that is obvious.
Lastly, I've seen what is probably hundreds of cats through the thermal imager and I just can't see anything that suggests that this might be what