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Sensors 2015, 15(12), 31751-31761; doi:10.3390/s151229886

An RFID Based Smart Feeder for Hummingbirds

1
Klipsch School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM 88003, USA
2
Department of Biology, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM 88003, USA
3
Manufacturing Technology and Engineering Center, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM 88003, USA
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Vittorio M. N. Passaro
Received: 12 November 2015 / Revised: 8 December 2015 / Accepted: 9 December 2015 / Published: 16 December 2015
(This article belongs to the Section Physical Sensors)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [32983 KB, uploaded 16 December 2015]   |  

Abstract

We present an interdisciplinary effort to record feeding behaviors and control the diet of a hummingbird species (Phaethornis longirostris, the long-billed hermit or LBH) by developing a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) based smart feeder. The system contains an RFID reader, a microcontroller, and a servo-controlled hummingbird feeder opener; the system is presented as a tool for studying the cognitive ability of the LBH species. When equipped with glass capsule RFID tags (which are mounted on the hummingbird), the smart feeder can provide specific diets for predetermined sets of hummingbirds at the discretion of biologists. This is done by reading the unique RFID tag on the hummingbirds and comparing the ID number with the pre-programmed ID numbers stored in the smart feeder. The smart feeder records the time and ID of each hummingbird visit. The system data is stored in a readily available SD card and is powered by two 9 V batteries. The detection range of the system is approximately 9–11 cm. Using this system, biologists can assign the wild hummingbirds to different experimental groups and monitor their diets to determine if they develop a preference to any of the available nectars. During field testing, the smart feeder system has demonstrated consistent detection (when compared to detections observed by video-recordings) of RFID tags on hummingbirds and provides pre-designed nectars varying water and sugar concentrations to target individuals. The smart feeder can be applied to other biological and environmental studies in the future. View Full-Text
Keywords: behavioral monitoring; electrical mechanical co-design; hummingbird feeder; interdisciplinary application; passive ID tag; RFID behavioral monitoring; electrical mechanical co-design; hummingbird feeder; interdisciplinary application; passive ID tag; RFID
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Ibarra, V.; Araya-Salas, M.; Tang, Y.-P.; Park, C.; Hyde, A.; Wright, T.F.; Tang, W. An RFID Based Smart Feeder for Hummingbirds. Sensors 2015, 15, 31751-31761.

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