Cool birds don’t sing: Study automates acoustic monitoring of songbird migration

first_imgResearchers have developed machine learning techniques to identify bird song from thousands of hours of field recordings, using the information to uncover variations in migratory songbirds’ arrival to their Arctic breeding grounds.They deployed automated listening devices during spring over five years, analyzed vocal activity to estimate when birds arrived at their breeding sites, and assessed relationships between vocal activity and environmental conditions.They found that the acoustically derived estimates of the birds’ arrival dates were similar to those determined using standard field surveys.Temperature and presence of snow affected the birds’ calling patterns, suggesting that collecting corresponding weather data could help avoid bias in using acoustic monitoring to assess population dynamics. It’s June, and migratory songbirds in the northern hemisphere are at their summer breeding grounds, having traveled thousands of miles from their warm-weather overwintering areas.Birds migrate as far north as the Arctic to take advantage of its large but short-lived surge in insect food and its few predators. The timing of their arrival is critical because their breeding cycles must match seasonal food availability for their chicks to survive.Migratory Lapland longspurs endure the cold en route to their breeding grounds. Image by Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren, CC 2.0Scientists have shown that as spring temperatures rise, many bird populations are, in fact, migrating north and arriving earlier in the season at their breeding sites, where climate-related shifts in breeding-ground conditions, including environmental conditions and food availability, may help or hinder reproduction of individual species.Most songbirds are too small to carry GPS tracking tags scientists would typically use to follow their migrations north, but they do call intensely once they arrive there in preparation for breeding.To study trends in migration timing, scientists have begun setting out microphones to listen for particular species or the bird diversity at specific sites. Placing numerous relatively inexpensive acoustic listening devices in the field allows researchers to better monitor wildlife communities in remote places and across larger scales than field surveys typically can.Gambel’s white-crowned sparrows, like this one, prefer woody shrubs. As the Arctic continues to warm, shrubs on Alaska’s North Slope are expected to overtake open grasslands. That could create conditions for sparrows to outcompete longspurs and other migratory birds. Image by John WingfieldA multi-institutional research team deployed automated listening devices over five spring breeding seasons at sites in Alaska to capture the vocalizations of two common breeding songbird species. White-crowned sparrows (Zonotrichia leucophrys) and Lapland longspurs (Calcarius lapponicus) both fly to these sites each spring to mate and raise their young.Autonomous recorders in the field can collect data 24/7, and their use has relied on trained experts to listen to the recordings and detect a target species or tally the species present at a given site. However, automated recordings of whole bird communities over hours or days produce data sets too large to review manually.Automating analysis of birdsong patternsTo facilitate the use of acoustic devices in studying whole communities of breeding birds, the researchers developed automated signal processing and machine learning algorithms adapted from human speech research to estimate from acoustic signals when songbird communities arrived each spring at four breeding sites in Alaska. For five seasons (2010 to 2014), the research team recorded songbird vocalizations at the sites at regular intervals from early May through July.An acoustic recording unit near Toolik Field Station in arctic Alaska. Image by Heather GreavesThey developed and trained a supervised machine learning algorithm, one that includes human input, to pick out calls of target songbirds from thousands of hours of field recordings that also contained noise from trucks, wind, rain, mosquitos and other bird species. They used the call data to produce a daily community Vocal Activity Index (VAI), a relative measure of the abundance of bird vocalizations at each site. They analyzed the daily VAI values to estimate the dates that the bulk of these birds had arrived at their breeding sites and any relationships between the VAI and environmental conditions, including temperature, wind and snow cover.The researchers also analyzed the sound data using an unsupervised classification, which does not use listener input but classifies data into groups that represent like items, to see if it could pick out the bird songs on its own and use them to estimate the arrival date.Cool birds don’t singThe researchers found that songbird vocal activity varied both in time (days, weeks and years) and the surrounding environment.They state in their paper, “We found that daily fluctuations in snow cover, air temperature, wind speed, atmospheric pressure, and precipitation had a significant impact on the VAI and explained a large proportion of variance.”A Lapland longspur singing near Toolik Field Station in arctic Alaska. Image by John WingfieldIn particular, they found calling activity increased noticeably on snow-free days, and they suggest that birds rely on snow-free patches of tundra for food and shelter. Singing takes energy, even more so on colder days; the songbirds in this study either moved on or remained quiet during unfavorable weather.They also found that both the supervised and the unsupervised arrival date estimates closely approximated what human observers recorded at the sites.Tools to study a range of calling creatures The success of the automated analyses is good news for researchers studying animal movements and population dynamics and could help scientists better understand patterns of migration and how they may be adapting to changes in climate patterns.“These tools could speed up the analysis of acoustic datasets packed with biodiversity information valuable to conservationists and others,” Andrew Farnsworth, a researcher at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, who was not involved in the study, said in a statement. “Understanding the dynamics of songbird arrival and breeding timing is the doorway to thinking about climate change and how temperature, weather and snowfall are affecting various species.”Listen to a Gambel’s white-crowned sparrow singing near Toolik Field Station in arctic Alaska. Audio credit: Oliver et al. 2018Audio Player Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.A functional unsupervised machine learning method could potentially be extended to any dataset of animal vocalizations. An unsupervised automated analysis does not need to be trained with a reference database of calls, as it does not need to be told what it is hearing.“Our methods could be retooled to detect the arrival of birds and other vocal animals in highly seasonal habitats,” said the study’s lead author, Ruth Oliver, a graduate student at Columbia University. “This could allow us to track large-scale changes in how animals are responding to climate change.”The study also showed that acoustic monitoring must consider environmental factors, such as temperature, that may influence how much animals call and thus lead to biased conclusions, as the listening devices cannot distinguish silence from absence.“Our findings demonstrate that the correct interpretation of avian vocal activity to estimate relative songbird abundance requires pairing of acoustic data collection with meteorological data, as well as consideration of the study communities’ breeding phenology [breeding stage].”“It’s still unclear how songbirds will cope if spring comes even earlier or later than it did during our study period,” said co-author Natalie Boelman. “Species also time their migration and breeding with day length, which isn’t shifting with climate change. Species whose migratory response is hard-wired to day length alone may not adapt as well to a changing environment.”CitationOliver, R., Ellis, D., Chmura, H., Krause, J.S., Pérez, J.H., Sweet, K.S., Gough, L., S. K., Wingfield, & J. Boelman, N.. (2018). Eavesdropping on the Arctic: Automated bioacoustics reveal dynamics in songbird breeding phenology. Science Advances 20 Jun 2018: Vol. 4, no. 6, eaaq1084 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaq1084FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the editor of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Acoustic, Adaptation To Climate Change, Analysis, Artificial Intelligence, Birds, Climate Change, data, Migration, Monitoring, Research, Sensors Article published by Sue Palmintericenter_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

PBL: Awadhe Warriors thrash Hyderabad Hunters 5-0

first_imgSaina Nehwal lost to reigning Olympic champion Carolina Marin but her side Awadhe Warriors still beat Hyderabad Hunters in a Premier Badminton League encounter at the Gachibowli indoor stadium on Monday.As Hyderabad lost the men’s doubles, which was their Trump Match, they had to sacrifice the one point they secured from Marin’s victory over Saina, and so the scoreline of 5-0.Awadhe’s Wing Ki Vincent Wong set the ball rolling for his team’s victory in the first match of the day (men’s singles) with a win against Hyderabad’s B Sai Praneeth.Sai Praneeth, who is ranked well below his rival from Hong Kong, put up a strong fight and pulled off a win in the first game. Sai Praneeth is ranked 36, while Wong is ranked 17.However, Wong came back strong into the match and won the second game 11-6. The third game, marked by long rallies between the two shuttlers, was a see-saw battle and Wong had the last laugh with a 13-11 win.The second match, the women’s singles between Saina and Marin, was the most awaited contest of the day.Saina, who recently recovered from a knee injury, fought hard in the first game and the remarkable rallies between the two was a treat for the spectators.Marin won the first game 15-14 and went on to dominate the second game also. Saina put up a stiff resistance in the second game, but that was not enough to stop the Spaniard.Marin, who won the gold in the Rio Olympics and is currently ranked number two in the world, won the second game 11-5.advertisementNoting that it has been a “a difficult journey” for her following the injury, Saina said she was happy to be back to competitive action though she lost the match.”I think it was a difficult journey for me from injury. I am happy to be playing. She (Marin) played yesterday and she is used to the conditions. I am happy that I am coming back,” Saina said.Marin thanked the spectators for their enthusiastic support to her.”Thank you very much. This is an amazing crowd. I could feel their support. I am still recovering from an injury. I am happy with my performance during PBL,” she said.Awadhe Warriors received a boost to its chances with its pair of Savitree Amitrapal-Bodin Isara clinching a comfortable 11-9 and 12-10 win in the mixed doubles match against Hoi Wah Chau-Satwiksairaj Rankireddy of Hyderabad Hunters.Awadhe secured two points as the mixed doubles match was their Trump Match. Awadhe’s Kidambi Srikanth confirmed his team’s victory in the tie with a hard fought 11-13, 11-7, 13-11 win against Hyderabad’s Rajiv Ouseph.With the win depending on the outcome of the third game, the two players left nothing to chance and the spectators were literally on the edge of their seats. Srikanth, however, pulled off a sweet 13-11 win in the third game.With Awadhe leading the match 4-1, the last match (men’s doubles between V Shem Goh-Markis Kido of Awadhe and Hyderabad’s Boon Heong Tan-Wee Kiong Tan) was rendered inconsequential as the host team would have got only two points even if it were to win.last_img read more

Programs warning youth against driving high ramp up ahead of legalized pot

first_imgTORONTO – Alexis Vegh is working what could be a tough crowd — about a dozen young people in their late teens and early 20s — and she’s here to speak to them about the risks of driving high after smoking pot.“I use quite a bit of slang during the presentation,” she bluntly informs them as she begins her hour-plus-long talk.“Weed, piff, kush,” she says, firing off some street names for cannabis to surprised laughter. “Lit is high. Ball up. Spark up.”Vegh is speaking their language — and she’s got their attention.As a facilitator of the Weed Out the Risk program offered by Springboard, a community-based organization that supports at-risk youth and adults, Vegh has delivered her talk more than 200 times in the last three years, mostly to high school students. In all, more than 8,500 youth have been exposed to the message.And with Ottawa preparing to legalize recreational marijuana next year, that message is considered more critical than ever.Springboard is among a number of Canadian organizations ramping up efforts to teach youth about the risks of driving high, which many young people erroneously believe is not as dangerous as drinking and driving.The main mind-altering ingredient in pot — tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC — impairs short-term memory, slows reflexes and reaction times, and narrows peripheral vision.“Statistically, we know that young people have a fairly good ability to recognize the risk of driving under the influence of alcohol, but we see the numbers being significantly lower in their ability to recognize the risks of driving high,” says Vegh.And it’s not just those who smoke up and slide into the driver’s seat: surveys show 41 per cent of youth are not concerned about getting in a vehicle with a high driver.“The reason this scares me is this statistic right here,” she says pointing to the screen. “In one in five accidents, people under 18 test positive for weed. If we put that up to (age) 29 … I’ve seen numbers as high as 50 per cent.”Still, Vegh’s presentation is meant to be informative and interactive — not preachy.“It’s not about finger-waving,” she tells the group of young people taking employment courses at a Springboard office in Toronto. “We do this from the harm-reduction principle. We know that people are going to use or not use and we may or may not be able to change that depending on where they’re at.“What we’re looking to do is educate people around their choices.”And those choices can be deadly, as illustrated by a video Vegh runs on a screen at the front of the room, in which family and friends remember five teenaged boys from Kanata, Ont., who were killed in a fiery multi-vehicle crash in 1999 that also injured 11 others.Toxicology tests showed the 17-year-old driver who caused the collision had significant cannabis in his system. He was convicted of impaired driving causing death and criminal negligence causing bodily harm, resulting in a year in jail.While many parents have discussions with their teens warning of the dangers of mixing alcohol and wheels, far fewer have a similar conversation about driving while zoned out on marijuana — or being a passenger with a high driver, says Vegh.“So to me it doesn’t make any sense that we’re not having at least a frank conversation about what are the effects, what are the risks, what does it look like and how do you keep yourself safe.”Sparking conversations between parents and young people is at the heart of a campaign by Drug Free Kids Canada called The Call that Comes After, a “transmedia experience” that combines online elements with a device central to teens’ lives — their mobile phones.“Our approach has always been on targeting the parents,” says Marc Paris, executive director of the private sector-funded, non-profit charity that encourages young people to live their lives free of drug or alcohol abuse.“And the reason we target the parents is that we find that they’re the first line of defence in any drug-prevention strategy,” explains Paris. “They have the most influence over kids, even though sometimes they don’t quite believe they do.”Parents who visit Drug Free Kids Canada’s website can customize a short online video on the dangers of driving high by inputting their teenager’s name and cell number, as well as the name they use for the parent, for example “Mom.”A video is then sent to their child, showing a group of teens who make the decision to drive after smoking pot. The video culminates with a crash, followed by an increasingly frantic series of texts from a parent asking if they’re OK.The narrative then jumps to real-life as the same messages begin appearing on their child’s phone or other digital device.“As the child is watching the video, when they get to the point after the crash, the phone is on the floor (in the video) and it starts saying: ‘Billy, this is Mom. Where are you?’” says Paris. “This is Billy seeing his name on the video.“If the kid then responds to mom … they get a note from us saying, ‘Your mom asked us to send you this and we hope this is opening a conversation with your mom about high driving.’”Since launching the campaign at the end of January, visits to the website have continued to rise, with more than 100,000 over the last three months alone, he says.Mike Serr, deputy chief of the Abbotsford Police in B.C., sent the interactive video to his two university-aged children to get their reactions.“I think the first words were, ‘Dad, you kind of freaked me out,’ followed by us having a really good conversation,” one of many they’ve had on the subject.Serr, who’s chairman of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police drug advisory committee, says he’s also been pushing other parents to go to the website and sign up their own children.“With alcohol, I think we’ve done a pretty good job of changing the perceptions of driving under the influence, but I don’t think that’s occurred yet with marijuana,” he says. “And certainly in studies we see — especially with youth — they don’t see the same level of danger.“We need to spend a lot of time and effort re-educating the public and the youth about that danger.”—Online:– Follow @SherylUbelacker on Twitter.last_img read more