Tech Tutors Recording: How do I perform automated recordings of bird assemblages?

Our third WILDLABS Tech Tutor is Carlos Abrahams, who tackled the question: How do I perform automated recordings of bird assemblages? You can catch up on this tutorial on our youtube channel and read through the callaborative notes taken during the session here

Date published: 2020/06/19

About the Series

Introducing the WILDLABS Tech Tutors, our new series that focuses on answering the "how do I do that?" questions of conservation tech. Launched with the support of Microsoft AI for Earth, this series will give you the bite-sized, easy-to-understand building blocks you'll need to try new conservation technology, enhance your research, or DIY a project for the first time.

Taking place every Thursday, each Tech Tutor will present a 20 minute tutorial guiding you through an aspect of conservation tech, followed by a 10 minute live Q&A session with the audience.

For participants, the outcome will be an increased sense of confidence in their technological skills, the ability to actively build off of the skills discussed in these tutorials, and an opportunity to learn and collaborate with other members of the WILDLABS community. Our goal is to customize these tutorials to fit the needs of the community and address your needs, so let us know what you want to see in this season and beyond.

Can't make it? You can find every tutorial after it airs on our Youtube channel.

Catch up on the chat and shared resources from the session in our collaborative notes here.  

Meet Your Tutor: Carlos Abrahams, Baker Consultants and Nottingham Trent University

Carlos is Technical Director at Baker Consultants, leading a team of ecological consultants.  In this role he is responsible for delivering around 100 ecological impact assessments for a variety of development-related projects every year. Many of these require survey for birds and bats using sound recording technologies. Alongside this, he is also a Senior Lecturer at Nottingham Trent University, contributing to the Environmental Biology BSc course.  In his spare time he conducts research on bird bioacoustics, developing and promoting this survey approach to aid conservation efforts for rare and declining species. This work has primarily focussed on how bioacoustics methods can be used to help understand occupancy and population sizes of forest and heathland birds at opposite ends of the UK.

We asked Carlos...

What will I learn in this episode?

How to set-up and deploy audio recording equipment to effectively record bird sounds (and then what this data can be used for).

How can I learn more about this subject?

Hands-on experimentation with hardware and software, and some guided reading - the WWF guide to acoustic monitoring is a good starting place (https://www.wwf.org.uk/project/conservationtechnology/acoustic-monitoring), and the bioacoustic community (training, webinars, videos)

If I want to take the next step using this technology, where should I start?

You can start with a mobile phone sound recording app to capture sounds and then view/listen to these recordings in free software such as Audacity. Starter dedicated devices are also cheaply available in handheld form (e.g. Tascam DR-05), or as static recorders (Audiomoth). Learn how to effectively capture sound recordings, and some of the approaches to analysing this to produce useful ecological data.

What advice do you have for a complete beginner in this subject?

As above. Start recording, handling .wav sound files, and get used to listening to these, viewing and editing them in sound analysis software. You can do all this for free.

Learn more about our upcoming Tech Tutorials

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Visit the series page on WILDLABS to find the full list of WILDLABS Tech Tutors.

If you have further questions for Carlos, join him in the discussion thread about this tutorial.