For many field ornithology surveys, the ability to identify bird species by their calls and songs is an essential skill. It is also one of the hardest aspects of field work to master. Technological advances in sound capture and visualization are pushing the ornithological frontiers with tools that make it easier than ever to learn field-identification by sound and to survey natural soundscapes (and their birds). In addition, modern sound recordings are providing high-quality acoustical specimens for analysis and independent review.
This course will combine field-experience listening to bird calls and songs during three mornings at the height of the breeding season, with hands-on recording practice to generate sound files. Each afternoon, the class will learn to edit and review their recordings using sound visualization software on their personal laptop computers.
Topics for discussion and field practice will include: ethical considerations in recording bird sounds; digital recorders including smartphones, parabolas and digital video; the use of autonomous recording devices such as SWIFT; standard protocols for point counts (North American Breeding Bird Survey—BBS; BC Breeding Bird Atlas); and, the use of Audacity and Raven Lite 2.0 software to visualize songs and calls and to edit sound files into a format suitable for upload into eBird.
After taking this course students will have several tools and strategies to improve their ability to identify birds by songs and calls. They also will have an appreciation of the complexity and limitations of several forms of acoustical surveys.
Class size is being limited to 12 to allow for increased individual attention and coaching both in the field and during the laboratory sessions.
Mon June 3, 7-9pm (All students need to attend this evening session in order to be field ready for Tuesday morning)
Tues June 4, 5am-4:30pm
Wed June 5, 5am-4:30pm
Thurs June 6, 5am – 1pm