Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Bird call database nests online

08.12.2010
Public, researchers can access thousands of avian sounds

A growing online library of bird sounds, photos and information offers a new resource for backyard birders and seasoned ornithologists alike.

The Avian Vocalizations Center at Michigan State University, or AVoCet,offers free downloads of bird sounds from around the world. It also features sonograms that visually chart the sounds, photos of birds recorded, Google Earth maps of recording locations and links to other online sound collections.

More than 10,200 recordings from over 3,190 species in 45 countries are now available on AVoCet, "and that's growing quickly," said Pamela Rasmussen, an assistant professor of zoology and assistant curator at the MSU Museum. "Soon recordings and their data from many more species and areas will be available for download from AVoCet."

There are, after all, 10,000 bird species, all of which make sounds of some type. Many birds, such as cardinals, even sing in regional dialects. Some birds have huge vocabularies – a single male Brown Thrasher is known to give 2,000 different notes.

Author of an exhaustive reference work on the birds of South Asia, Rasmussen has personally recorded on all the continents for this project. Her work in the Philippines alone netted 597 recordings of 120 species, many of which are threatened. Some of those sound types are not publicly available anywhere other than AVoCet.

AVoCet also contains recordings made around the world so far by 65 others, including local ornithologists, professional guides and MSU students from Rasmussen's study abroad and ornithology courses. Zoology department programmer/analyst Patrick Bills built the database and Web site and undergraduate students also contributed.

Digital technology has revolutionized birding, Rasmussen explains, allowing enthusiasts and professionals to more easily record, share and play bird calls. Online access to the AVoCet library allows easy access to sounds, photos and other supporting information via computer and Internet-connected mobile devices.

The ability to identify birds vocally is crucial for monitoring bird movements and populations, including such popular events as the annual Christmas bird counts organized across the country. A comprehensive collection of bird sounds can yield better understanding of habitats, ranges and habits, while allowing more efficient and thorough biodiversity studies, Rasmussen said. "It's very difficult to see birds in a tropical rainforest, but not difficult to hear and recognize them."

Oriented to the scientific community, AVoCet maintains rigorous scholarly standards. Whenever possible, recordings are accompanied by photos and sighting observations that enable independent evaluation, Rasmussen said. Scientists can then accurately map avian biodiversity and perhaps identify new species.

"We know that certain species will go extinct in the near future and, sadly, there's not a lot that can realistically be done about it," Rasmussen said. "However, ornithologists and birders do now have the opportunity to document virtually all the species of birds out there in one way or another, and one major goal of AVoCet is to contribute to this effort."

Michigan State University has been advancing knowledge and transforming lives through innovative teaching, research and outreach for more than 150 years. MSU is known internationally as a major public university with global reach and extraordinary impact. Its 17 degree-granting colleges attract scholars worldwide who are interested in combining education with practical problem solving.

For MSU news on the Web, go to news.msu.edu. Follow MSU News on Twitter at twitter.com/MSUnews.

Mark Fellows | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.msu.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Brought to light – chromobodies reveal changes in endogenous protein concentration in living cells
21.09.2018 | NMI Naturwissenschaftliches und Medizinisches Institut an der Universität Tübingen

nachricht A one-way street for salt
21.09.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Scientists present new observations to understand the phase transition in quantum chromodynamics

The building blocks of matter in our universe were formed in the first 10 microseconds of its existence, according to the currently accepted scientific picture. After the Big Bang about 13.7 billion years ago, matter consisted mainly of quarks and gluons, two types of elementary particles whose interactions are governed by quantum chromodynamics (QCD), the theory of strong interaction. In the early universe, these particles moved (nearly) freely in a quark-gluon plasma.

This is a joint press release of University Muenster and Heidelberg as well as the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt.

Then, in a phase transition, they combined and formed hadrons, among them the building blocks of atomic nuclei, protons and neutrons. In the current issue of...

Im Focus: Patented nanostructure for solar cells: Rough optics, smooth surface

Thin-film solar cells made of crystalline silicon are inexpensive and achieve efficiencies of a good 14 percent. However, they could do even better if their shiny surfaces reflected less light. A team led by Prof. Christiane Becker from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) has now patented a sophisticated new solution to this problem.

"It is not enough simply to bring more light into the cell," says Christiane Becker. Such surface structures can even ultimately reduce the efficiency by...

Im Focus: New soft coral species discovered in Panama

A study in the journal Bulletin of Marine Science describes a new, blood-red species of octocoral found in Panama. The species in the genus Thesea was discovered in the threatened low-light reef environment on Hannibal Bank, 60 kilometers off mainland Pacific Panama, by researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama (STRI) and the Centro de Investigación en Ciencias del Mar y Limnología (CIMAR) at the University of Costa Rica.

Scientists established the new species, Thesea dalioi, by comparing its physical traits, such as branch thickness and the bright red colony color, with the...

Im Focus: New devices based on rust could reduce excess heat in computers

Physicists explore long-distance information transmission in antiferromagnetic iron oxide

Scientists have succeeded in observing the first long-distance transfer of information in a magnetic group of materials known as antiferromagnets.

Im Focus: Finding Nemo's genes

An international team of researchers has mapped Nemo's genome

An international team of researchers has mapped Nemo's genome, providing the research community with an invaluable resource to decode the response of fish to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

"Boston calling": TU Berlin and the Weizenbaum Institute organize a conference in USA

21.09.2018 | Event News

One of the world’s most prominent strategic forums for global health held in Berlin in October 2018

03.09.2018 | Event News

4th Intelligent Materials - European Symposium on Intelligent Materials

27.08.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Astrophysicists measure precise rotation pattern of sun-like stars for the first time

21.09.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Brought to light – chromobodies reveal changes in endogenous protein concentration in living cells

21.09.2018 | Life Sciences

"Boston calling": TU Berlin and the Weizenbaum Institute organize a conference in USA

21.09.2018 | Event News

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>