Bioacoustics opening up world of birdsongs

A researcher uses a microphone to record bird calls.©PJeganathan

To find the last remaining Puaiohi thrushes (Myadestes palmeri) on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, researchers placed small recorders at the base of the cliff to listen for their distinctive call, using algorithms to recognize them. It’s one of a growing number of studies using bioacoustics to identify birds that might otherwise go unheard, the Washington Post reports.

“The new way of listening to nature lets scientists track how fires affect bird populations in California, how shifting climate alters breeding for more and more species across the United States, and how habitat loss affects rare species in Peru,” the Post writes. “One experiment seeks to catch poachers in Africa by listening for the crack of gunshots.”

Read more on the growing use of bioacoustics here.