Title

Comparison of manual and automated methods for identifying target sounds in audio recordings of Pileated, Pale-billed, and putative Ivory-billed woodpeckers

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2009

Publication Title

Journal of Field Ornithology

Volume

80

Issue

1

First Page

42

Last Page

50

DOI

10.1111/j.1557-9263.2009.00204.x

Abstract

Although offering many benefits over manual recording and survey techniques for avian field studies, automated sound recording systems produce large datasets that must be carefully examined to locate sounds of interest. We compared two methods for locating target sounds in continuous sound recordings: (1) a manual method using computer software to provide a visual representation of the recording as a sound spectrogram and (2) an automated method using sound analysis software preprogrammed to identify specific target sounds. For both methods, we examined the time required to process a 24-h recording, scanning accuracy, and scanning comprehensiveness using four different target sounds of Pileated Woodpeckers (Dryocopus pileatus), Pale-billed Woodpeckers (Campephilus guatemalensis), and putative Ivory-billed Woodpeckers (Campehilus principalis). We collected recordings from the bottomland forests of Florida and the Neotropical dry forests of Costa Rica, and compared manual versus automated cross-correlation scanning techniques. The automated scanning method required less time to process sound recordings, but made more false positive identifications and was less comprehensive than the manual method, identifying significantly fewer target sounds. Although the automated scanning method offers a fast and economic alternative to traditional manual efforts, our results indicate that manual scanning is best for studies requiring an accurate account of temporal patterns in call frequency and for those involving birds with low vocalization rates. © 2009 Association of Field Ornithologists.

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