Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Technology tracks the elusive Nightjar

Date:
July 21, 2014
Source:
Newcastle University
Summary:
Bioacoustic recorders could provide us with vital additional information to help us protect rare and endangered birds such as the European nightjar, new research has shown. The study found that newly developed remote survey techniques were twice as effective at detecting rare birds as conventional survey methods.

Bioacoustic recorders could provide us with vital additional information to help us protect rare and endangered birds such as the European nightjar, new research has shown.

The study, led by Newcastle University, found that newly developed remote survey techniques were twice as effective at detecting rare birds as conventional survey methods.

Using automated equipment to record the nightjars at dawn and dusk, when the birds are most active, the team found a 217% increased detection rate of the nightjar over those carried out by specialist ornithologists.

Published this month in the academic journal PLOS ONE, lead author Mieke Zwart said the findings suggest that automated technology could provide us with an important, additional tool to help us survey and protect rare birds.

"The results of this research will help conservationists monitor endangered species more effectively," explains Mieke, who carried out the research as part of her PhD, supported by Baker Consultants Ltd and Wildlife Acoustics Inc.

"The European nightjar, for example, is only active at night and is very well camouflaged, making it difficult to detect using traditional survey methods.

"Using bioacoustics techniques we can more accurately build up a picture of where these birds are, population numbers, movement and behaviour."

The nightjar -- Caprimulgus europaeus -- is a migratory species protected under the Birds Directive (Directive 2009/147/EC) and in the UK by the classification of Special Protection Areas (SPAs).

Nesting on lowland heath such as parts of Sherwood Forest and Thames Basin Heath, it can be affected by development such as housing and as part of the planning process, developers must now provide data on presence and abundance of this species and provide mitigation plans to prevent their disturbance before planning applications will be considered.

Traditional bird survey methods involve specialist ornithologists conducting field surveys to identify and count the birds they encounter. But these are time-consuming, must be performed by experts, and could be inaccurate when surveying species that are difficult to detect.

Bioacoustics is the science of recording of wildlife sounds and processing that data to provide information on species numbers, movement or behaviour.

Using automated audio recorders and analysis software, the technology is 'trained' to automatically recognise the calls of individual species, in this case the nightjar.

Remote recorders were deployed at specific sites and the results were compared against observations from standard human field surveys of the same sites.

Andrew Baker, managing director of Baker Consultants Ltd and a co-author of the paper, said: "This is a key piece of research that has demonstrated how effective bioacoustics techniques can be for providing ecological data.

"This research has challenged conventional methods and could be applied to a wide range of species to give more accurate, objective data on bird numbers and distribution."

This study has implications for a range of other species, including black grouse (Tetrao tetrix), capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus) and woodlark (Lullula arborea). This is especially important when information on species presence and abundance is used to inform conservation projects or development plans.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Newcastle University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Mieke C. Zwart, Andrew Baker, Philip J. K. McGowan, Mark J. Whittingham. The Use of Automated Bioacoustic Recorders to Replace Human Wildlife Surveys: An Example Using Nightjars. PLoS ONE, 2014; 9 (7): e102770 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0102770

Cite This Page:

Newcastle University. "Technology tracks the elusive Nightjar." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140721100129.htm>.
Newcastle University. (2014, July 21). Technology tracks the elusive Nightjar. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140721100129.htm
Newcastle University. "Technology tracks the elusive Nightjar." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140721100129.htm (accessed October 2, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Attacking Superbugs

Attacking Superbugs

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) — Two weapons hospitals can use to attack superbugs. Scientists in Ireland created a new gel resistant to superbugs, and a robot that can disinfect a room in minutes. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) — Cultural transmission — the passing of knowledge from one animal to another — has been caught on camera with chimps teaching other chimps. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — A new study published by the World Wide Fund for Nature found that more than half of the world's wildlife population has declined since 1970. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Annual Dog Surfing Competition Draws California Crowds

Annual Dog Surfing Competition Draws California Crowds

AFP (Sep. 30, 2014) — The best canine surfers gathered for Huntington Beach's annual dog surfing competition, "Surf City, Surf Dog." Duration: 01:15 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins