Wildlife Acoustics Blog

birds

Birding with Technology: Q&A with David Sibley

Birding with Technology: Q&A with David Sibley

Ornithologist David Allen Sibley, author and illustrator of The Sibley Guide to Birds and illustrator for our Song Sleuth app, is widely considered to be one of the foremost authorities on North American birds.

While he collaborated with us, providing the beautiful artwork featured in our app, we decided to ask him about what he thought of technical birding tools, the future of birding, and whether or not he thinks he could outperform Song Sleuth (of course he can). 

Q: As a kid, what was the most meaningful piece of gear for you as a birder?

David Sibley: The most meaningful, for me, was my sketchbook. Sketching is how i really engage with birds. Just going out searching and watching is rewarding and fun, but my most memorable and satisfying experiences involve drawing.

Male Birds Sing for Their Fertile Female Neighbors Too: A Song Meter Case Study

Male Birds Sing for Their Fertile Female Neighbors Too: A Song Meter Case Study

While most bird studies on sexual signaling have focused on between-pair interactions, Conor Taff has instead looked outward.

Taff, whose research has just been published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, deployed 5 song meters across multiple territories to study male calling behavior in relation to the fertility of female birds in neighboring territories. His findings suggest that birds' sexual signaling behavior is much more complex than we may have thought.

Taff’s paper, Fluctuations in Neighbourhood Fertility Generate Variable Signalling Effort, discusses how male common yellowthroats adjust song production in response to changes not only in within-pair social contexts, but also to changes in the fertility of neighboring females up to 400 meters away.

Listening for Signs of Life: A case study on using acoustic monitoring to assess remote seabird populations

Biologist Luke Halpin

Biologist Luke Halpin:

“My research takes place in Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve and Haida. Heritage Site in Haida Gwaii, an island archipelago off the west coast of British Columbia, 80km west of Prince Rupert. Haida Gwaii is home to 1.5 million breeding seabirds, including 50% of the global Ancient Murrelet population and large nesting populations of several other seabird species. Haida Gwaii is the only breeding location for Ancient Murrelets in Canada.

On Haida Gwaii, invasive rats are a major threat to the conservation of these seabird populations. In 2010, Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site began a large rat-eradication project called Night Birds Returning (SGin Xaana Sdiihltl’lxa, in the Haida Language) on a number of islands. As a component of this project, I used Song Meters to explore presence and relative abundance of four seabird species on rat-infested and rat-free islands. The species I examined, in collaboration with Dr Carita Bergman, Terrestrial Ecologist in the Parks Canada Agency, includes Ancient Murrelets Synthliboramphus antiquus, Cassin’s Auklets Ptychoramphus aleuticus, Fork-tailed Storm-Petrels Oceanodroma furcata and Leach’s Storm-Petrels Oceanodroma leucorhoa."

Research Process

“I used the Song Meter acoustic data to assess the effect of rat presence on relative abundance of these nocturnal seabirds. I examined relative abundance and the seasonal colony attendance period from presence and absence data derived from the Song Meter acoustic recordings.

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