New bioacoustic program

May 25, 2022 by Bárbara Santana

In February, the RSI embarked on a new bioacoustic program.

The first objective is to geographically expand detection surveys for Red Siskins through passive acoustic monitoring using autonomous recording units, ARUs. ARUs can be deployed relatively quickly and easily across large areas of habitat in Venezuela and Colombia to collect audio recordings for weeks or months, unattended by researchers. The collected recordings would then be analyzed with software that has been trained via machine learning to detect Red Siskin vocalizations.

This approach has potential to improve our understanding of the distribution and movement ecology of this species and to help inform conservation interventions such as prioritizing areas for habitat protection. To start, Dr Brian O’Shea and the South Rupununi Conservation Society are deploying Audio Moth ARUs near sites frequently visited by Red Siskin in Guyana to collect recordings that will be used to develop detection algorithms.  The next step would be to deploy units in areas across the species’ historic range in Venezuela that have been identified as suitable habitat but have not yet been surveyed. Future work may also include investigating variation in vocal dialect across the entire species range, and training captive birds to produce the dialect of wild birds to promote successful integration upon reintroduction.

Photo by: Jhonathan Miranda