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 Playerhttps://imgs.mongabay.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/20/2018/06/22175149/oliver6AUDIO.wav00:0000:0000:00Use 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

All-You-Can-Stream Music Services Reduce Piracy, Says Study

first_imgjohn paul titlow 12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People… 9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex… It might be a decade late, but it appears as though the music industry may have found the antidote to the digital piracy it claims has ravaged its revenues for so long. New research into Swedish music consumption indicates that the public launch of Spotify in that country has led to a 25% reduction in the illegal downloading of songs and albums. In the second quarter of 2011, music piracy had dropped 9% from the same period last year. It only makes sense. What peer-to-peer filesharing services like Napster originally offered their users was seamless and immediate access to a large selection of MP3s and other media files. Today’s legal, on-demand streaming services provide similarly unfettered and searchable access to digital music, but do so for a modest monthly fee. Music fans can still (at their own risk, of course) use BitTorrent and RapidShare to download albums without paying for them, but for most consumers this probably isn’t a convenient way to go about it. Services like Spotify, Rdio, MOG and Grooveshark are just easier to deal with. Finding music is a simple process and there are no downloads to wait for. In Sweden, these services are now the most popular means of listening to music, according to the study. Twenty-three percent of listeners still download music illegally, but it’s a percentage that continually shrinks. Whether or not streaming services can fill the financial hole left by ever-dwindling CD sales is another story. As we’ve covered in the past, the payouts received by labels and artists from Spotify and similar services is tiny compared to what they make off of digital downloads and album sales. A handful of small indie labels have pulled their catalog from these services out of concern that the streaming model is not economically viable for them. Tags:#music#news#web center_img 4 Keys to a Kid-Safe App 5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnout Related Posts last_img read more

Time for Indian skippers to pull up their socks

first_imgCricket rates have been jacked up for the Indian Premier League matches at home but ardent T20 fans may not mind it.This is peak summer in India and as the temperature rises, it is time for the intensity of cricket to also go up. After the first fortnight in the UAE went off well, one almost did not notice how the cricket caravan slipped into home training grounds.Enough has been written about the woes of defending champions Mumbai Indians but on Saturday they would have heaved a sigh of relief as they snapped the winning streak of Kings XI Punjab.It is hard to fathom what went wrong with the Mumbai team in the desert, but I have not been able to understand the logic of getting on board so many “expert advisors.”John Wright is the head coach, Jonty Rhodes the fielding coach, and in addition they have Anil Kumble, Robin Singh, Sachin Tendulkar and now Ricky Ponting. It’s nice to have a star support cast for a team which has no dearth of funds but what value they bring to the team we will know in coming weeks.The famous saying of too many cooks spoiling the broth may sound cliched but for Mumbai all the collective thinking was needed when they left the UAE. To have finally won their first match in front of a sea of blue in the stands at the Wankhede on Saturday was very important. Given the long drawn format of the tournament, no team can be written off, though Chennai Super Kings as usual have done extremely well under the guidance of Mahendra Singh Dhoni. We all know how shrewd a captain Dhoni is and this season he has been well served by Ravindra Jadeja and Brendon McCullum in particular.advertisementThe same, however, cannot be said about the other Indians who are leading their respective franchises. Watching Gautam Gambhir struggle with the bat, it is clear his poor run has a lot to do with trying too hard. Any professional sportsperson has to enjoy whatever he does on the field. In Gambhir’s case, it does appear he is trying too much and it shows on his face. To have scored just 52 runs in six matches with a highest of 45 at a strike rate of 76.47 is a cause for worry.When Kolkata Knight Riders were crowned IPL champions in 2012, Gambhir was the superstar. He talked of how Kolkata was his home away from home and the Bengali community lapped it up with glee.If Gambhir has to connect again with the Kolkatans and turn the fortunes of his team around, he needs to be more relaxed. Where does that leave Gambhir’s Delhi Ranji teammate Virat Kohli? The rockstar of Indian cricket, who has done so well in the ODIs and the recent ICC World T20, is looking subdued in the IPL.Nobody is expecting him to slam a 100 in this format often but given the fluctuating fortunes of Royal Challengers Bangalore, fans would love to see Kohli changes gears fast. For sheer star value, the Bangalore side is loaded with heavyweights. With Yuvraj Singh and Chris Gayle for company, Kohli would do well to show his current run is just an aberration.It is unfair to expect he will score each time he steps out to bat though 105 runs in five matches this season with a highest of 49 seems meagre. Let’s take a look at Sunrisers Hyderabad. For a side which has a good bowling line-up with Dale Steyn looking impressive, skipper Shikhar Dhawan has not been inspirational at all.This is Dhawan’s first season as captain and whether it is that pressure or a poor run with the bat we will know soon. Till now, in five matches, Dhawan has scored 85 runs with the highest being 38. Surely for a side which needs to win more matches, it is very important Dhawan bounces back to form.And what about Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma? Consistency has never been his forte. There are days when he looks outstanding and there are patches when he just does not score in international cricket. The IPL is a demanding tournament and each player has to be firing on all cylinders. Rohit has scored 123 runs in six matches with a 50 to boot. His 39 on Saturday was valuable and he would have realised how important it is for him to score runs and motivate the side.This is a great chance for Rohit to show leadership skills in addition to his own batting. He has a galaxy of past stars to seek advice from and that should be real education.advertisements.kannan@mailtoday.inlast_img read more

Portugal beat Argentina in friendly with Ronaldo vs Messi a sideshow

first_imgRaphael Guerrero of Portugal (left) celebrates with Ricardo Quaresma after scoring the only goal against Argentina. (AP Photo)’Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi’ got top billing at a packed Old Trafford but it was a lesser light who scored as Portugal scraped a 1-0 friendly win over Argentina on Tuesday.Raphael Guerreiro headed the winner in added time after a second half riddled with substitutions and missing the excitement factor provided by the game’s two biggest players who did not reappear after halftime.With Messi and Ronaldo on the field, Argentina showed what coach Gerardo Martino is looking for from his team, a quick-passing possession game with fast thrusts forward.They dominated the opening half-hour in which they could have scored at least twice, the first chance a shot from Angel Di Maria, playing at the home of his club Manchester United, that skimmed the outside of the post after he was set up by Messi.Argentina’s closest effort was in the 11th minute when Messi beat the offside trap to reach a through ball on the right and came in at a tight angle, his low shot from the edge of the six-yard box beating Beto but glancing off the post and back into play.As the half-hour approached, Messi crossed, Javier Pastore headed and Beto dived to save before Ronaldo raised the decibels in the stadium when he backheeled a neat pass to Bosingwa then raced into the box to take the right back’s cross but his shot after two dummies went over the bar.advertisementIt was the signal for Portugal to come out of their shell for the last 15 minutes of the half and put the Argentine defence under pressure but Martino’s side managed to play their way out of trouble.After a lukewarm start to the second half, Di Maria had a shot from outside the box saved by Beto before Carlos Tevez came on for Gonzalo Higuain to boos from fans of his former team Manchester United but he did not make an impact.The game failed to pick up its first half rhythm and quality, despite an end-to-end flow, thanks to the high number of substitutions as every player in the two squads appeared to be getting a chance to play.Portugal looked like they wanted it more towards the end and a lucky bounce set up Ricardo Quaresma to cross from the right and give substitute Raphael Guerreiro a free header for the only billing at the goal.last_img read more