Oregon officials plan to test drone aircraft taking smartphone photos of seabirds that eat salmon and steelhead heading to the ocean.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife wants to see if it can use the technology to get useful, inexpensive photos without exposing human pilots to coastal dangers.
The department is interested in double-crested cormorants nesting on Haystack Rock near Pacific City.
The agency says the birds eat up to two pounds of fish a day.
The department gets annual photos of the bird colonies from federal wildlife officials but would like to see weekly shots.
A test is planned this week by the agency and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, which is sending an assistant professor, four students and two drones from its Daytona Beach campus in Florida.