NEON

NEON Bird Blog #5

Hello blog readers!

After a brief holiday absence, I’m back with more unidentified bird sounds. So far the feedback has been great and we’re making a lot of progress with the dataset! Thanks so much for all the input!

If this is your first time visiting the NEON bird blog series, check out the intro in my previous post for a bit of background. And if you’re ready to help ID more birds, check out the clips below!

The clips in this blog post were recorded in late September in Petersham, Massachusetts. This area is forested, and we’ve come across both forest-edge and forest-interior species.

-Leanna

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NEON Bird Blog #4

Hello blog readers!

It’s time for the fourth installment in the NEON bird blog series. So far you all have helped me successfully identify almost 20 clips! Thanks so much for all the input!

If this is your first time visiting the NEON bird blogs, check out the intro in my previous post for a bit of background. And if you’re ready to help ID more birds, check out the clips below!

The clips in this blog post were recorded in late September in Petersham, Massachusetts. This area is forested, and we’ve come across both forest-edge and forest-interior species.

-Leanna

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NEON Bird Blog #3

Hi again!

The bird blog is back with it’s third round of sound clips that need identification! All the help so far has been great; I’m loving all the input from birders and acousticians!

If this is your first time visiting the NEON bird blog series, check out the intro in my previous post for a bit of background. And if you’re ready to help ID more birds, check out the clips below!

The clips in this blog post were recorded in late December in Petersham, Massachusetts. This area is forested, and we’ve come across both forest-edge and forest-interior species.

-Leanna

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NEON Bird Blog #2

Hi everyone!

I’m back with round two of yet-to-be-identified bird clips! Thanks to all who helped identify the species in my first blog post. It was tons of help! At this rate, we’ll fly through the species ID!!

If this is your first time visiting the NEON bird blog series, check out the intro in my previous post for a bit of background. And if you’re ready to help ID more birds, check out the clips below!

The clips in this blog post were recorded in late December in Petersham, Massachusetts. This area is forested, and we’ve come across both forest-edge and forest-interior species.

-Leanna

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NEON Bird Blog #1

This semester, I’m helping out with a bit of the analysis for NEON (for a brief description of the NEON project, check out the main page). One of my objectives is to use acoustics to identify the species that are present during different seasons. This includes birds, frogs, and insects. Since this data set is HUGE and we’ve got MONTHS of recordings to get through, I’m requesting some help with the bird identification. I’m starting a series of blogs that will include pictures of spectrograms from our recordings, their associated sound clips, and a place for acousticians and bird enthusiasts to put their bird ID skills to the test! Feel free to browse the sound clips below and cast your vote for the type of birds we’re hearing at our field sites! Any help is greatly appreciated! And look out for more blogs coming next week!

The clips in this blog post were recorded in late December in Petersham, Massachusetts.

-Leanna
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A day trip to Harvard Forest

I like to think of myself as an outdoorsy person.  I try to get away from it all a couple times a week.  Mostly I go mountain biking, but I also run and hike on forest trails.  In addition to the enjoyment I get from these activities, I like to listen to the environment.  I enjoy being in an area where I cannot hear human activities.  Where the dominant sound is contributed by something – insects, birds, frogs, wind, rain or whatever happens to be around – that is not “us”.  Hearing plays a large role in my perspective of a location.  There is currently a disconnect between my eyes and my ears when I walk into the lab.  I walk into the lab and I see desks and workbenches, but I hear a meadow in summer.  Actively listening to one’s environment can have a profound impact on the way in which we experience our world.  As we welcomed the students back to campus, I have noticed the sheer number of individuals who walk around actively isolating themselves from the sounds in their environment.  I don’t care for the sounds of cars driving by, emergency vehicle sirens blaring, or the constant hum of HVAC equipment – but at what cost are we drowning out those sounds with our personal playlists.  Perhaps it is the curmudgeon in me, but the number of people walking around with headphones gives me trouble.  There is a wonderful world around us, we just have to open our eyes, ears, and minds and experience it.  It is this perspective that makes me grateful for the opportunities I have to experience nature.

This week, Hannah and I headed out to Harvard Forest to service the acoustic recorder deployed there.  It was my first time going to the site and I was surprised.  Rural Massachusetts is beautiful country.   From the colonial style houses to the pastoral views, and the turkeys hanging out in the road, the drive to the site was quite enjoyable.

These turkeys were taking their time crossing the road.  I wonder why.

These turkeys were taking their time crossing the road. I wonder why.

Harvard Forest is a research forest administrated by Harvard University.  Since 1907 researchers have been using the forest to study the ways various physical, biological, and human systems impact the earth.  We have deployed an acoustic recorder as part of the NEON project (www.neoninc.org) and I will be spending the next year trying to extract as much information about the acoustic activity of birds, frogs, and insects as I can.  Most of my effort is made from the “comfort” of an office.  As an acoustician, most of my time is spent in front of a computer, analyzing recordings and writing up my findings.  So I relish every chance I get to go into the field.

Research offices for Harvard Forest.

Research offices for Harvard Forest.

We first stopped off at the Harvard Forest research offices to grab the charged batteries.  Once we got the batteries, we headed to the recorder.  When we arrived at the path to where the recorder is deployed, the first thing we noticed was the presence of a work crew.  Perhaps some new sensor was being deployed, so the work crew was installing the instrumentation and some new wiring.  The elevated path/gangway had some of the grates missing, making what would be a really easy walk into a really easy walk with some sections of balance beam practice.

There should be a windscreen on this microphone.

There should be a windscreen on this microphone.

After our harrowing journey through the balance beam gauntlet, we got to the recorder.  Everything looked ok from a distance, but upon closer inspection, the recorder was not on, and the microphone windscreens (the foam covers for microphones) had seen better days.  As it turns out, those windscreens won’t quite make it through a year.  The recorder was off because the data cards were full.  We switched out the data cards, changed the batteries, put on new windscreens, and changed the gain (the record volume).  It sounds like a lot, but it went really quickly and we were back on the road in no time.  We drove back to Syracuse and despite the long day of driving I was thankful for the opportunity to get into the field, if only for a brief while.

The walkway to our recorder.  Construction crews working on a new instrument made passage more challenging.

The walkway to our recorder. Construction crews working on a new instrument made passage more challenging.

-Sam