We have been working towards methods of determining the positions of birds in 3D space as they fly using our Synthetic Aperture imaging approach. Pigeons are particularly easy to film because we can trick them into coming in for food, and then scaring them. These preliminary videos help understand the potential this approach may have in determining the trajectory motion of these birds in space and time. Thanks to Kennedy Plaza for giving us permission to park there! Oh and thanks to all the local characters that kept asking us what we were doing hoping to get on television!
In the image above you can see our setup in Kennedy Plaza. Jesse Belden is standing next to my SUV that has all of the camera computer equipment in it. 9 cameras are on tripods spanning the sidewalk. The pigeons are busy scavenging for food.
Here we present a video of the birds after the cameras have refocused on one of the image sets and as we pass through the focal stack. Watch as the birds come into and out of focus!
Finally, we can extract data about their positions in 3D, in this image we have tracked 20+ birds.
This research could improve our understanding of how birds are capable of swarming behavior. Our techniques offer the ability to determine accurate position of each bird and their head and wing position. Recent  and past research  suggests that birds us their visual sensors to make these coordinated decisions and having 3D data of their motion and where their eyes are observing is a key to better modeling of their behavior. Below is a figure of the positions of 20 birds in this flock and their relative motion (tracking of heads).