Scientists measure bird populations using their songs

Posted By: Staff
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London, Nov 27 (ANI): Scientists have found a new way to monitor the sizes of bird populations - recording their songs.

According to researchers, the new technique gives a more accurate estimate of numbers.

They monitored the chirping of the ovenbird - a small warbler found in North America, and recorded the birdsong using four microphones.

Researchers combined the sound information and used a computational method to convert it into an estimate of the density of birds in the area.

Dr Deanna Dawson of the US Geological Survey (USGS) said that the ovenbird was the ideal species for testing out the new method.

"We chose [them] because they have a very distinctive call. They're quite loud and most of the time they're on the ground or quite low in the forest canopy," the BBC quoted her as saying.

However, researchers insist that the new method could be used to study any songbird.

Grahame Madge from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) welcomed the development.

"At this time more than any other time in history, it's vitally important that we have information on bird populations across the UK and the rest of the world," he said.

"About one in eight of the world's birds are facing extinction, so having the best available information about how they are doing year by year is vitally important to their conservation," he added.

According to Madge, the ear is often more useful for conservation research than the eye.

The new method has been described in the Journal of Applied Ecology. (ANI)

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