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BirdNote®: Identify Bird Sounds On Your Phone

Air Date: Week of

The call of the Northern Hawk Owl is amongst the many bird sounds the Merlin bird ID app can identify using the software BirdNET. (Photo: Thomas Landgren, Flickr, CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0)

BIRDNOTE®: IDENTIFY BIRD SOUNDS ON YOUR PHONE: Even if you can’t tell a cardinal from a crow birding apps can make a birder out of anyone. BirdNote's Ariana Remmel shares details about tools for the novice birder.


BASCOMB: These long days of summer are a fine time to get up with the sun and head out for some early morning birding. But if you don’t know a crow from a cardinal, not to worry. There’s an app for that. Bird Note’s Ariana Remmel has more.


Please include the entire transcript, from BirdNote® through the very last line of the document. Thanks!

Identify Bird Sounds on Your Phone

[cell phone recording of Northern Hawk Owl]
On a morning walk with her dog Aari near Denali National Park in Alaska, Denise heard an unfamiliar bird call. She asked the dog for an opinion –
Denise: [on recording] What do you make of that noise?
– but no luck there. She recorded the mysterious screech on her phone. Uploading the sound to BirdNET, an online tool, matched the call to a Northern Hawk Owl, a medium-sized owl that lives in northern boreal forests.
[Northern Hawk Owl, ML 150433141, 0:18-0:20]
BirdNET’s creators, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Chemnitz [KEM-nits] University of Technology in Germany, trained the software on thousands of bird calls and songs. BirdNET uses artificial intelligence to make an educated guess at the bird calls in any recording.
And Cornell’s well-known Merlin Bird ID app now has sound ID, too. It’s as simple as opening the app, choosing “Sound ID,” and hitting record. It can pick out multiple species in the same recording.
[Morning bird chorus, Quiet Planet QP01 0045]
These tools aren’t infallible. Some similar calls can confuse the apps, and they might not detect anything with too much background noise. Currently focused on species in North America and Europe, BirdNET is working on expanding to more regions. But already, it’s amazing to see what these AI tools can do.
[Northern Hawk Owl, ML 150433141, 0:18-0:20]


Written by Conor Gearin
Senior Producer: John Kessler
Content Director: Allison Wilson
Producer: Mark Bramhill
Associate Producer: Ellen Blackstone
Managing Producer: Conor Gearin
Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Northern Hawk Owl ML 150433141 recorded by J. Patterson.
BirdNote’s theme was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
© 2022 BirdNote March 2022 Narrator: ​​Ariana Remmel
ID# sound-29-2022-03-10 sound-29


BASCOMB: That’s Bird Note’s Ariana Remmel. For photos and more information about the birding apps, head on over to the Living on Earth website, loe.org.



BirdNote | “Identify Bird Sounds on Your Phone”

Learn more about the Merlin Bird ID App


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