Feeds

Massive online database of bird calls unveiled

Extensive contributions from the 'Brown Thrasher'

The next step in data security

Twitchers among the Reg readership – and there must be a few of you, it's a hobby based on obsessive knowledge of minutiae and enhanced by gadgets – take heed. A massive online database of bird calls has been made available free online for your listening enjoyment.

Professor Pamela Rasmussen. Credit: MSU

Are you looking at my bird?

We speak here of the Avian Vocalizations Center at Michigan State uni, or AVoCet, which boasts no less than 10,200 recordings from over 3,190 species in 45 countries at the last report – "and that's growing quickly," according to Pamela Rasmussen, Michigan State zoology prof.

"Soon recordings and their data from many more species and areas will be available for download," she adds.

Rasmussen is personally responsible for many of the present recordings, having collected bird calls on every continent in her travels. Others have been provided by students and local ornithologists around the world.

According to the prof, bird calls are not the simple matter one might suppose. Some types of bird apparently sing in regional dialects: others have an astonishing repertoire of different sounds. Apparently "a single male Brown Thrasher is known to give 2,000 different notes".

Rasmussen hopes that the AVoCet database will help the ornithology and birdwatching community to increase humanity's knowledge of its feathered chums in a scientific and systematic manner.

"We know that certain species will go extinct in the near future and, sadly, there's not a lot that can realistically be done about it," she says. "However, ornithologists and birders [twitchers or birdwatchers] do now have the opportunity to document virtually all the species of birds out there in one way or another, and one major goal of AVoCet is to contribute to this effort."

You can find out more about AVoCet here. ®

Bootnote

Twitching is evidently not the hobby of the sad, unsuccessful misanthrope of popular lore – if any sad misanthropes are involved they are plainly wealthy and successful ones. A birdwatching tome, John James Audubon's Birds of America, has just set a new world record for most expensive book at £7.3m.

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away
Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation
Bacon-related medical breakthrough wins Ig Nobel prize
Is there ANYTHING cured pork can't do?
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Stray positrons caught on ISS hint at DARK MATTER source
Landlubber scope-gazers squint to horizons and see anti-electron count surge
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.