Wildlife Acoustics Blog

Your Help is Needed to Record the Eclipse!

Your Help is Needed to Record the Eclipse!

The Project

Purdue University researchers are collaborating with science museums, zoos, and state and national park scientists as well as citizen scientists around the country to understand how Monday’s total solar eclipse will affect animal vocalizations and habits. They're looking for people like you to help with the data collection.

If you have a Song Meter SM4, you can follow the instructions below to participate. However, anyone interested in being a citizen scientist for the project can download an app developed by Purdue’s Soundscape Ecology research group. The Record the Earth app can be downloaded from recordtheearth.org, through the Google Play store or iTunes.

Have An SM4 ? Here's how to contribute to the project


  • Wildlife Acoustics SM-4 recorder (provided)
  • 18-gauge or thicker galvanized wire (provided)
  • Four D-sized alkaline batteries (provided)
  • SD card (provided)
  • GPS device or smartphone with GPS and compass capabilities
  • Camera or smartphone
  • Notepad and writing utensil

Sensor Location Criteria:

  1. Greater than 5 km from an airport
  2. Greater than 2 km from a highway (speed limit greater than 50 mph)
  3. Greater than 300 m from any other roads
  4. Greater than 100 m from the habitat edge
  5. Greater than 4 ft from a walking trail
  6. Not located next to a river
  7. Flat terrain preferred


  1. After identifying a suitable location using the criteria above, mount the sensor on the smallest tree available with a DBH between 3” and 3’ and without secondary branches. Trees with smaller diameter trunks are favorable. Upon finding a suitable tree:
  2. Make sure the recorder is facing south. The recorder should be installed at eye level.
  3. To install the recorder, feed the wire through the eye-holes at the top and bottom of the recorder and wrap the wire half-way around the tree. Where the wires cross, twist them multiple times in order to fasten the sensor. Make sure that the wire is taut so that the recorder will not slip. Any additional wire should be folded up and tucked close to the tree.
  4. Save a GPS point or write down the coordinates
  5. Take photos of the recorder on the tree and of the surrounding habitat
  6. Write down a brief description of the location (Are there trees, shrubs, grasses, other plants? How dense is the vegetation?) and what you hear (Are there people talking, road noise, aircraft, running water?)
  7. Turn on the recorder no later than 11:59 pm on Thursday, August 17
  8. Open the recorder cover using the latch on the right hand side
  9. Move the power switch (“A” on figure below) on the upper right-hand side from “EXT” to “INT”
  10. Wait for unit to turn on.
  11. Press the “Start Schedule” button (“B”)
    1. The screen will have a message that says “WARNING! Delaying until 2017-August-18 00:00:00”
    2. After this message, the screen will go blank. This means everything went well!
    3. If you do not see this message, or if you have any questions regarding the deployment, please immediately call somebody at the Center for Global Soundscapes using the phone numbers listed at the bottom of this protocol sheet.
  12. Close the cover of the recorder
  13. Remove the recorder from the tree after 12:01 am on Friday, August 25
  14. Open the recorder cover
  15. Press the “Stop Schedule” button (“C”), the screen will show the main menu options
  16. Move the power switch from “INT” to “EXT”

For more information on the research, go to: https://centerforglobalsoundscapes.org/eclipse/

Wildlife Acoustics is proud to support wildlife conservation efforts

Merlin Tuttle's Bat Conservation Bat Conservation International Bat Conservation Trust Wildlife Habitat Counsil