Amazing Technology Birds Voice Touch Anywhere

The small, elusive birds play a vital role in the health of the island’s forests. So a consortium of agencies put together a rescue plan to save the thrushes from extinction as soon as they could figure out where they nested.
We then decided to make our algorithm into a smartphone app, this time trained to recognise birds in Britain, so that people around the country could record and identify birdsong. The surprise came when we heard what sounds they actually recorded – an oddly funny set of bird impressions. We ended up learning something interesting about humans as well as birds.

For all the science behind the app, I found it to be straightforward and convenient, even for a beginner birder like me. I immediately liked the fact that I didn’t need Wi-Fi or data to use it. All the material, including the Sibley references, is available for download, so you can use Song Sleuth in remote locations where getting a signal might be an issue—say, deep in the Rocky Mountain backcountry. In total, the app takes up 367 megabytes of space: less than Facebook, but more than Pokémon GO or Snapchat.

To do that, they tried something unusual. Researchers placed small recorders along the base of the cliffs. Then they used the same algorithms the big tech companies developed for Internet searches to sort through weeks of sound files for the distinctive call of the Puaiohi.

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