Wildlife Observation & Night Vision Technology: The Underrepresented Application

When you ask a person what night vision technology can be used for and by whom, a vast majority will share the same answer: the military. If not, law enforcement and other similar fields are the response. It’s not surprising though, given the amount of spy movies, action flicks, and cop shows that frequently use night vision technology. The only application the general public tends to see is militaristic. But a night vision scope or goggles need not have such a violent connotation, as one can use the technology for far different (and far more pleasant) needs, namely wildlife observation.

Back in the winter of 1995, almost twenty years ago now, Kirk J. Havens and Walter I. Priest III from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, along with Ann Jennings of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service were among the first to document the usefulness of night vision technology in the field of wildlife observation. Venturing into both a rural and urban wetland environment in Virginia, the trio aimed to discern whether or not image intensifier equipment could be beneficial when observing animals in differing landscapes. Their findings concluded that animals and humans “were easily observed using the night-vision equipment” and that it “can be used to quantify nocturnal animal activity in different landscapes types.”

Despite the study’s findings, many modern wildlife enthusiasts still aren’t aware of just how functional night vision technology can be when animal-watching. Take the examples provided by Bird Watching Bliss.com, a website devoted to the recreational observation of avian life. Within their section on night vision/infrared binoculars, the author relates how useful the technology has been when needing to travel in forested areas (or just at home) under the cover of darkness, and has created the opportunity to catch “glimpses of nocturnal avian life such as owls, nighthawks, nightjars and even roosting birds like hawks and even songbirds.”

Whereas a standard set of binoculars or a telescope requires a source of light, you need not scare away any nocturnal creatures when you have a night vision viewing device. As such, a wildlife enthusiast’s ability to relish in the wonders of nature have pretty much doubled with access to night vision technology; they can now participate animal watching during both the night and day.

Night vision goggles, scopes, and binoculars generally come in three “generations,” with each proceeding generation offering higher quality images and a higher price tag. Wildlife News suggests that nature enthusiasts purchase the “most expensive [night vision technology] that you can afford,” in order to gain the best results. Of course, there is a wide range of night vision technologies one can choose from, all with varying price tags, to help you get comfortable with the devices before you’re ready to invest a fair sum of money. To see what night vision devices fit your price range, take a look here.

By Franklin Cedric