Compile bird sound features and contribute to better understanding of global biodiversity!
25.11.2021 06:45 - Eija-Leena Laiho

In a citizen science web portal birdwatchers throughout the world can offer their expertise to build up a library of sound features for all the bird species in the world. By contributing to the library construction, users can participate in enhancing the automated bird sound recognition and increasing the understanding of global biodiversity but also be involved in the research enabling these goals.

LIFEPLAN project establishes a globally distributed and systematical data collection on a broad range of taxonomical groups to discover and understand global biodiversity and its drivers. Birds will be monitored through automated sound recording. Since the project will be producing huge amounts of audio data, processing of all the hundreds of years of audio will not be possible manually. Therefore, LIFEPLAN’s machine learning team is developing methods for automated sound identification, in collaboration with the Finnish Biodiversity Information Facility (FinBIF) and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. 

Machine learning based identification is dependent on annotated training data, i.e. audio data in which the vocalizing bird species are already known. One of the first steps to gain such data is to build up an expert-validated sound feature database, which includes representative sound features for all the bird species in the world. For this purpose, LIFEPLAN has in co-operation with FinBIF published a web portal called Bird Sounds Global. In the portal, local experts are asked to validate ten sound features for each species which they are already familiar with, or species that they can validate by learning their vocalizations from various sources. The sound recordings used in the portal originate from the Macaulay Library of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

The end result of this project will be an open access dataset published in a peer-reviewed journal, so that the sound feature database can be used for LIFEPLAN project but will also be available for anyone for enhancing automated identification of birds globally, or for any other use. For this publication, the users of the portal who will conduct a sufficient number of validations will be invited as coauthors. In addition to be involved in the research itself, you can harness your expertise to advance automated bird sound identification and understanding of global biodiversity!

The Bird Sounds Global web portal can be accessed here: