As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Sunday, 7 July 2019

Software to help in bird conservation and monitoring in NZ

The software analyses spectrogram recordings, or the visual representations of sound waves, of bush sounds.
A variety of native birds can be likely heard by anyone who wanders into the New Zealand bush. However, identifying which bird is which, especially if they imitate each other, will not be easy.
A Professor from Victoria University of Wellington’s School of Mathematics and Statistics, together with his research team, had created software that can analyse sound recordings from the New Zealand bush and deduce the abundance of various types of birds.
According to a recent press release, AviaNZ allows them to monitor the health of bird populations without affecting their behaviours.
What can the software do?
Additionally, the technology could also monitor pests and predators by changing the types of recorders being used.
It could also be an excellent way to gauge the predator stress on a particular area.
The software can be trained to recognise any sound. As long as the predators are talking to each other and the microphone is close enough, it will be able to detect them.
The team have successfully trained the software to detect two types of native bats, which are inaudible to humans.
The software analyses spectrogram recordings, or the visual representations of sound waves, of bush sounds.
It then learns the sound waves patterns that represent each bird call and can count how many of those bird calls occur.
It is not as good as an expert human, who is concentrating hard at discerning the different calls. However, it is quite difficult for a human to maintain concentration to any 8-hour recording, while most of it is nothing, with no calls at all.
The software, on the other hand, does not care. Plus, it is very fast. A 15-minute recording takes it about a minute to process.

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