In computer vision, significant advances have been made in recent years on object recognition and detection with the rapid development of deep learning, especially deep convolutional neural networks (CNN). The majority of deep learning methods for object detection have been developed for large objects and their performances on small-object detection are not very good. This paper contributes to research in low-resolution small-object detection by evaluating the performances of leading deep learning methods for object detection using a common dataset, which is a new dataset for bird detection, called Little Birds in Aerial Imagery (LBAI), created from real-life aerial imagery data. LBAI contains birds with sizes ranging from 10px to 40px. In our experiments, some of the best deep learning architectures were implemented and applied to LBAI, which include object detection techniques such as YOLOv2, SSH, and Tiny Face, in addition to small instance segmentation techniques including U-Net and Mask R-CNN. Among the object detection methods, experimental results demonstrated that SSH performed the best for easy cases, whereas Tiny Face performed the best for hard cases, i.e. where a cluttered background makes detecting birds difficult. Among small instance segmentation methods, experimental results revealed U-Net achieved slightly better performance than Mask R-CNN.