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

142 Biman passengers evacuated after hijack attempt

first_imgPassengers were evacuated from a Biman Bangladesh Airlines aircraft at Shah Amanat International Airport in Chattogram on Sunday afternoon following suspicious behaviour of a passenger aboard, reports UNB.All the 142 passengers and pilots of the Dubai-bound flight from Dhaka disembarked safely from the aircraft, said Shakil Miraj, Biman general manager (Public Relations).He, however, said the suspected man held a crewmember hostage inside the aircraft.Shakil said the Dubai-bound flight took off from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport after 5pm and it made landing at the Chattogram airport around 5:40pm.Biman manager (PR) Tasmin Akhter said the flight made the emergency landing suspecting a passenger to be a hijacker.Biman Bangladesh Airlines aircraft at Shah Amanat International Airport in Chattogram on Sunday. Photo: Prothom AloTasmin, however, said it is not still clear whether it was a hijacking bid.Later, members of Rapid Action Battalion, Bangladesh Army and police cordoned off the aircraft.Officer-in-charge of Patenga Police Station in Chattogram Abul Quashem said two bullets were fired in the aircraft.Contacted, home minister Asaduzzaman Khan said around 7:10pm that they were still not clear what actually happened in the aircraft.Earlier, civil aviation and tourism secretary Mohibul Haque told UNB all the passengers were evacuated from the aircraft following the suspicious behaviour of a passenger.He also said two crew members were talking to the suspected man.last_img read more

Deadly Yemen air strike on bus was unjustified

first_imgMourners attend a funeral of people, mainly children, killed in a Saudi-led coalition air strike on a bus in northern Yemen, in Saada, Yemen 13 August 2018. Reuters file photoAn air attack by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen last month that killed dozens of people, including children travelling on a bus, lacked military justification and requires a review of the rules of engagement, a coalition body said on Saturday.The rare concession by the Joint Incident Assessment Team, an investigative entity set up by the coalition, follows mounting international pressure, including from allies, to do more to limit civilian casualties in the 3-1/2 year civil war.The Western-backed alliance fighting the Iranian-aligned Houthi group in Yemen said at the time that the air strikes had targeted missile launchers used to attack the southern Saudi city of Jizan a day earlier and accused the Houthis of using children as human shields.JIAT legal adviser Mansour Ahmed al-Mansour on Saturday said the strikes had been based on intelligence indicating that the bus was carrying Houthi leaders, a legitimate military target, but that delays in executing the strike and receiving a no-strike order should be investigated.”There was a clear delay in preparing the fighter jet at the appropriate time and place, thus losing (the opportunity) to target this bus as a military target in an open area in order to avoid such collateral damage,” Mansour told reporters in the Saudi capital.”The team believes that the coalition forces should immediately review the application of their rules of engagement to ensure compliance…” he added.Mansour also recommended that the coalition hold those responsible for the error accountable and compensate victims.Last week, a U.N. panel of human rights experts said that some coalition air strikes may constitute war crimes, while U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition was not unconditional, but suggested the United States would continue to support the alliance as it works to reduce fallout on civilians.last_img read more

Washington DC Area Food Bank Is Staple to Area Residents

first_imgTyrell Holcomb, the distributions program manager with the Capital Area Food Bank, looked at the long line of people queuing for the fresh produce and meat offered on the first Saturday of every month and made a prediction.“Today, it looks like we are going to have a record in terms of the number of households in which we are going to be serving,” Holcomb, 26, said.  “I’m anticipating that we’ll probably serve about 300 households today.”Scores of people lined up on April 4 near the Northwest One Library with their market bags and trollies in hand to collect free fresh fruits and vegetables distributed by the food bank. Capital Area Food Bank distributes fresh food to individuals who are low-to-moderate-income and who receive federal assistance.  Potatoes, cabbage, turkeys, onions, and grapes were just a few of the giveaways available to those waiting with their food bank key cards.The food bank serves all eight wards in the District, Fairfax County in Virginia and Prince George’s County in Maryland. Volunteers set up their stalls on L Street and greet recipients with a smile as they distribute the food.Juanda Smith heard about the food bank from a friend and started coming this year. “It helps me with food to last for the month,” Smith, 61, said.  “So, it’s like an addition. I get everything, the cabbage, the potatoes, the apples and especially the salad.”In addition to distributing fresh produce, the Capital Area Food Bank shares recipes for healthy and affordable meals at the market as well as online. “We’re not just handing you fresh fruits and vegetables, anticipating that you’ll go home and do something with it,” Holcomb said.  “We’re giving you a recipe to go home and actually try with the fresh fruits and vegetables that we provide.”Tiffany Mitchell, a day care worker who lives across the street from the food bank, brought her godbrother to help her pick up her fresh produce for this month. “My favorite part of the market is the fruits,” Mitchell said. “My daughter likes fruits.  So, she’s going to enjoy these grapes and just the fact that they help us with the food, because it is a struggle.”People were not aware that they were qualified to get free produce at the food bank. Cloment Okehie, a 29-year-old engineering student, was unaware that he qualified to receive free produce. “I was just passing by last month, going to the library, because I go every weekend and one of them told me about the food bank and that I qualified,” Okehie said.Okehie, who was making his second trip to the food bank, said his favorite part was getting the turkey. “It benefitted me a lot,” he said. “It reduced my expense. It makes me stay at home to cook and not to go out so much to spend. It has been so wonderful.”Qualified residents can sign up and become a member of the food bank at no cost. “Members of the market place sign up and get a key card which makes the flow of the line much smoother,” Holcomb said.  “And what happens is, on a monthly basis they come, they show their key cards, their key cards get scanned and they’re able to come through and get their produce.“It also helps us to track the number of people we’re actually serving at each distribution.”last_img read more

Group shows botnet threat in the future may come from the sky

first_imgSkyNET drone prototype. Diagrams showing the PAAE (pilot, attack, attack, enlist) procedure used by the SkyNET drone. Black dots represent targets. In b the targets are networks. In c the targets are both networks and hosts. More information: SkyNET: a 3G-enabled mobile attack drone and stealth botmaster, … final_files/Reed.pdfAbstractSkyNET is a stealth network that connects hosts to a botmaster through a mobile drone. The network is comprised of machines on home Wi-Fi networks in a proximal urban area, and one or more autonomous attackdrones. The SkyNET is used by a botmaster to commandtheir botnet(s) without using the Internet. The drones are programmed to scour an urban area and compromise wireless networks. Once compromised, the drone attacks the local hosts. When a host is compromised it joins both the Internet-facing botnet, and the sun-facing SkyNET. Subsequent drone flights are used to issue command and control without ever linking the botmaster to the botnet via the Internet. Reverse engineering the botnet, or enumerating the bots, does not reveal the identity of the botmaster. An analyst is forced to observe the autonomous attack drone to bridge the command and control gap. In this paper we present a working example, SkyNET complete with a prototype attack drone, discuss the reality of using such a command and control method, and provide insight on how to prevent against such attacks.via Technology Review ( — Sven Dietrich, an assistant professor in computer science at the Stevens Institute of Technology, and two of his students have given a demonstration of an aerial drone, that they say could be used to spy on wireless networks, at last month’s USENIX Security Conference. In their presentation, and paper, they say that such drones could be used to move close enough to WiFi connections to eavesdrop or potentially serve as a control unit in a botnet. Dietrich says such a drone could also be fitted with a solar panel to keep the battery charged, which would allow it to park near a vulnerable site and do its dirty work almost indefinitely. To make things even easier for the shady characters who wish to quietly plug in to a weakly protected site, the drone can be directed to its target using a 3G smartphone.This is not the first time that someone has shown that wireless networks could be compromised by remotely controlled aircraft. A demonstration of a reconfigured Army drone following a cell phone signal was shown at the recent Black Hat security conference for example.The point in these demonstrations is not to scare people, though they most certainly might do just that, but to highlight the risks people and companies take when they don’t properly secure their WiFi networks, and to hopefully incite others to find ways to make future systems more secure so that users won’t be so vulnerable to such attacks. Citation: Group shows botnet threat in the future may come from the sky (2011, September 9) retrieved 18 August 2019 from Explore further Hacker drone launches airborne cyber attacks © 2011 The drone, essentially a toy quadricopter (helicopter with four rotors) purchased from a store and configured with a small computer, cameras, software and wireless technology cost the team just $600 to put together, which they say means that almost anyone could construct one and begin using it to listen in on private networks.While certainly the threat of such a drone eavesdropping on a private or corporate wireless network is rather unsettling, worse is the ease with which such a “toy” could be used to serve as the control unit of a botnet (large numbers of computers infected with code that allows them to be controlled by an outside source. ) Because they would be free from tethers on the ground, law enforcement would find it exceedingly difficult, if not impossible to track them down to stamp out the botnet. And that’s a very bad thing, because botnets exist primarily to steal valuable information (such as credit card and bank numbers) off of personal computers, though in some cases they are used more as a tool to bring down web portals via denial of service attacks. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more