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

Europa League not to blame for defeat, says Pochettino

first_imgMauricio Pochettino refused to blame Tottenham’s 2-1 home defeat to Newcastle on the Europa League.The manager made six changes to the side that beat Monaco 4-1 on Thursday night, but the Magpies ended Spurs’ 14-match unbeaten run in the Premier League thanks to a late goal from Ayoze Perez.“It’s not about tiredness or playing on Thursday,” Pochettino said.“We had good energy, but started to make mistakes and lost control in the last 15 or 20 minutes.”Tottenham went ahead through Eric Dier’s first-half goal but failed to put the game beyond doubt.“The first half was a fantastic performance and one of the best so far I think,” the boss added.“It was under control and the way we played was fantastic.“In football you need to create chances and score and [Newcastle] created chances and scored.”Nevertheless, Pochettino pointed out his team were still only three points behind fourth placed Man United, adding his young team would continue to improve.last_img read more

Walt Disney World Preview — Week of May 26, 2018

first_imgWeatherA tropical disturbance is scheduled to make for a wet weekend, so keep that in mind when you make your plans. For the most current weather conditions, click here.Crowd LevelsFor more information about crowd levels, click here.Park Hours Attractions Closed For RefurbishmentsMagic Kingdom:Liberty Square RiverboatEpcot:Kringla Bakeri og KafeWhat do you think of this After Fireworks Dessert Party? Would you try it out? Let me know in the comments! Share This!We’ve got high crowds and some great temps for you this week. Grab a sip of water (gotta stay hydrated!) and read your Walt Disney World preview here!Special EventsThe Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival ends May 28. Will you get to visit before it ends?As of May 28, Magic Kingdom’s After Fireworks Dessert Party is available to participating guests. Admission is $69 for adults and $41 for children, and you can read more about it here.Annual Passholders are receiving special offerings now through June 29. These include a 20% discount at Hollywood & Vine (located at Disney’s Hollywood Studios) and early access to purchase a Toy Story Land-themed MagicBand.PhotoPass Photographers have added new Magic Shots around the resort. At Magic Kingdom park, see Dumbo fly over Storybook Circus, catch the Cheshire Cat near the Mad Tea Party, or get your head shot taken near the Casting Agency door!The Friendship Boats are closed temporarily as of May 7. This transportation service is for guests staying at the Epcot area resorts, and the closure is due to a bridge refurbishment. At the time of this article, Disney has not yet released a completion date.last_img read more

Tsogo Sun in $100m African expansion

first_img29 April 2013South African hotel and casino group Tsogo Sun is to invest $100-million (about R900-million) in projects in Mozambique and Nigeria as part of its African growth strategy.The Southern Sun Maputo in Mozambique will get a $30-million (R270-million) revamp of the existing 158-room hotel, as well as the addition of 110 rooms and conferencing facilities.“The Mozambican economy has shown encouraging signs of growth in recent years, and Tsogo Sun has benefited from a strong trading at the Southern Sun Maputo,” Tsogo Sun chief executive, Marcel von Aulock, said in a statement last Wednesday.“The group has for some time been planning to utilise the additional land owned next to the hotel and believe that this exciting expansion programme will cement the Southern Sun Maputo as the destination hotel of choice in the city.”Approximately $70-million (R630-million) will go towards the Nigerian project. It involves the acquisition of a 75% stake in Ikoyi Hotels Limited, the holding company of the Southern Sun Ikoyi hotel in Lagos.The hotel has been managed by Tsogo Sun since it opened in 2009, but the acquisition is subject to regulatory approvals. Shareholders will be notified once the acquisition has become effective.“This acquisition will cement our presence within the fast growing and progressive Nigerian economy as well as provide a base from which to expand our operations in Nigeria,” Von Aulock said.The Southern Sun Ikoyi hotel is centrally located with access to prime business nodes in Lagos and has additional land available for expansion.Tsogo Sun currently operates hotels in seven African countries, including South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria and the Seychelles.SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

Police thrillers: Khaki is the newest hue in Bollywood

first_imgGANGAAJAL: In Prakash Jha’s film, Ajay Devgan dons the uniform and plays an honest officer who takes on the baddiesViolence reverberates through the grimy, paan-stained corridors of Mumbai’s Directorate of Technical Education. Its majestic Indo-Saracenic central hall doubling as a post office after working hours is littered with broken furniture,GANGAAJAL: In Prakash Jha’s film, Ajay Devgan dons the uniform and plays an honest officer who takes on the baddiesViolence reverberates through the grimy, paan-stained corridors of Mumbai’s Directorate of Technical Education. Its majestic Indo-Saracenic central hall doubling as a post office after working hours is littered with broken furniture because Akshay Kumar in police uniform is trading filmi punches with Ajay Devgan.A biff and a bang later, director Rajkumar Santoshi yells “cut”, ending the pantomime on the sets of one of Bollywood’s biggest blockbusters, Khakee. The days Santoshi spent as chief assistant director to Govind Nihalani, tramping through the city’s police stations to recreate the filthy rooms and the rough police speak in the classic Ardh Satya, have stood him in good stead. The star-spangled Khakee, he promises, will be Bollywood’s closest look at the men in the force. Amitabh Bachchan is the honest IPS officer, Devgan the bad guy, Akshay is crooked and comic, and Tusshar Kapoor is the rookie. Trouble is there are a dozen films waiting in the wings, each promising to do just that. Not all of them have Khakee’s stellar line-up, but they collectively have more than Rs 100 crore riding on their back and a range of actors – from the Union shipping minister to a superbrat – in dust brown fabric packing a pistol. From Sunny Deol who grew a beard to play a rustic Sikh constable dispatched to New York in Jo Bole So Nihal to Nana Patekar playing a hardened encounter specialist in the Ram Gopal Varma factory’s Ab Tak Chappan. The call of duty has attracted even bad boy Salman Khan who, sample this for sheer irony, marched straight to the sets in starched uniform after being jailed for nearly a fortnight for mowing down a pavement dweller. Producer Sunil Mehta hasn’t decided what to call the Rs 25 crore film-Satyameva Jayate or Garv- but swears it is “Salman’s best performance till date”. Actors, evidently, are in short supply for such heavy duty acting. advertisementSATYAMEVA JAYATE Or may be Garv. The Khan brothers Salman Khan (right) and Arbaaz Khan team up as policemenShool’s steely officer Manoj Bajpai reprises the role in two films-Pankuj Parashar’s Inteqam and Mehul Kumar’s Jaago, based on the true story of a rape in a Mumbai local train. Three Khakee stars are doing double-shifts as law enforcers in other films-Devgan has just played Gangaajal’s upright officer while Bachchan hops sets to play policeman in Dev, Santoshi’s one-time mentor Govind Nihalani’s film. Akshay Kumar, who plays a conscientious officer in the Madhur Bhandarkar-directed Aan, sits in crisp uniform amid Khakee’s chaos and confesses with the frankness of a child in a candy store, “I read both scripts at around the same time, both were exciting.” The film’s other hero, Union Minister for Shipping Shatrughan Sinha, had to seek prime ministerial approval, no less, to don greasepaint and khaki. But producer Firoz A. Nadiadwala believes his Weapon of Mass Distraction will be Paresh Rawal who sparked off laugh riots in Hera Pheri. His barbs as the bribe-taking constable are specially penned by Neeraj Vora. Bollywood, used to herd-mentality, is dumb founded by the khaki deluge. “This hasn’t happened in the industry before, but it is no trend,” says trade analyst Amod Mehra. “Santoshi, Varma and Nihalani are serious film-makers, not proposal makers.” Varma wanted to make a film on the encounter specialists in the Mumbai Police. “They get a strange sense of achievement in numbers,” he says, explaining his film’s title, Ab Tak Chappan. “But each statistic represents a dead criminal. It is macabre.” After the superlative Ardh Satya and Drohkaal comes Dev where Nihalani realises his “ambition to work with Bachchan”. He won’t call it the last of his police trilogy but a “story of two friends who happen to be policemen”. DEV: In his third police film, Govind Nihalani (centre) fulfils his dream of working with Amitabh Bachchan (left) and casts him opposite the peerless Om PuriAs an after thought, he says it may be “the Ardh Satya for the new millennium”. Anurag Kashyap, scriptwriter of Shool and Satya, who is to direct Black Friday, a police procedural film on the 1993 Bombay blasts, and Allwyn Kalicharan on a corrupt policeman, Anil Kapoor, in a dystopic Delhi of 2015, explains the police obsession: “It is a fascination for the cop- and crime-genre and people who have the power to do the unthinkable and change lives.”Mumbai policemen are a richly mined vein- encounter specialist sub-inspector Daya Nayak inspires characters in Aan, Ab Tak Chappan and Kagaar while Kay Kay plays Additional Commissioner Rakesh Maria in Black Friday. In these all-male films, women are adornments-recruited for oomph, as Lara Dutta is in Aan, or to play a suffering wife like Gracy Singh in Gangaajal. Unless, of course, it is a policewoman played by Sushmita Sen in Samay, a serial-killer flick. “She is the woman in control,” says director Robby Grewal. The khaki wave even promises to do the unthinkable-be authentic. Former police commissioner M.N. Singh, who had a hitlist of films that showed his department in poor light, had to eat his words when he mistook Akshay Kumar-sporting a close crop and in a uniform stitched by the Mumbai Police’s official tailor-for one of his men at the mahurat of Aan. Designer Anna Singh saw her home deluged with bales of brown fabric when she agreed to design uniforms, over a 1,000 of them, for Santoshi’s film. “He is a perfectionist and wanted all the policemen dressed in the same shade of khaki,” says Singh. Bachchan’s IPS uniform had to be aged by 10 years by washing it every day for two months. Onscreen, however, khaki is the newest hue.advertisementlast_img read more

Perth Test one of the best matches of my career: Faf du Plessis

first_imgSouth Africa Test captain, Faf du Plessis, has described the 177-run win against Australia in the first Test at the WACA ground in Perth as ‘the best Test match of my career’. (Scorecard)The Proteas put in a spirited performance with only two seamers after the injury to Dale Steyn, and to go one-up in the three-match series which moves to Hobart later this week. (Kagiso Rabada takes five as South Africa hammer Australia in Perth Test) “For my career that I’ve been involved in that is one of the most special days,” Du Plessis said to the media after the match. “To turn it around 360 degrees after day one when we were under the pump and under a lot of pressure, and in the position that we were in to turn it around on day two was one of the best days of cricket that I have been involved in. (Australia opener Shaun Marsh ruled out of second Test vs South Africa) “To be a seamer down pretty much the whole Test match and to do what we have done; we always joke that if you lose a seamer in a three-seam attack it’s 99 per cent impossible to win a Test match because there is just too much of a workload on the bowlers. (Clarke, Johnson, Taylor slam DRS after Perth Test) “Somehow we managed to do it, obviously there is a lot of credit that must go to Kagiso Rababa, who has put up his hand and bowled really well, and also Keshav (Maharaj), he was the guy who relentlessly bowled in a good area and made sure we could rotate the guys from the other end and build a bit of pressure. That is right up there as one of the best Test matches of my career.”advertisement(Reuters Photo) Du Plessis was full of praise for his tenacious bowling unit, who never backed down despite the high workload and long spells on the final day. He made a special mention of the never-say-die attitude of man-of-the-match, Kagiso Rabada, who put in his longest spell of bowling at international level to lead from the front in the absence of Steyn.   “I’m incredibly proud of him,” he said of Rabada. “I have a lot of respect for anyone who puts up their hand and does the hard yards. KG just wanted the ball, every time I asked him if he was tired or done he said ‘no, you’re not taking the ball out of my hand’. That is a sign of a champion bowler for me, someone who wants to be in the fight the whole time and wants to make sure he does the hard work.”The second Test will be played at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart from November 12.last_img read more