Autonomous sound recording outperforms human observation for sampling birds

a systematic map and user guide

Kevin Darras, P. Batáry, Brett J. Furnas, Ingo Grass, Yeni A. Mulyani, Teja Tscharntke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Autonomous sound recording techniques have gained considerable traction in the last decade, but the question remains whether they can replace human observation surveys to sample sonant animals. For birds in particular, survey methods have been tested extensively using point counts and sound recording surveys. Here, we review the latest evidence for this taxon within the frame of a systematic map. We compare sampling effectiveness of these two survey methods, the output variables they produce, and their practicality. When assessed against the standard of point counts, autonomous sound recording proves to be a powerful tool that samples at least as many species. This technology can monitor birds in an exhaustive, standardized, and verifiable way. Moreover, sound recorders give access to entire soundscapes from which new data types can be derived (vocal activity, acoustic indices). Variables such as abundance, density, occupancy, or species richness can be obtained to yield data sets that are comparable to and compatible with point counts. Finally, autonomous sound recorders allow investigations at high temporal and spatial resolution and coverage, which are more cost effective and cannot be achieved by human observations alone, even though small-scale studies might be more cost effective when carried out with point counts. Sound recorders can be deployed in many places, they are more scalable and reliable, making them the better choice for bird surveys in an increasingly data-driven time. We provide an overview of currently available recorders and discuss their specifications to guide future study designs.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere01954
JournalEcological Applications
Volume29
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2019

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bioacoustics
bird
survey method
sampling
cost
spatial resolution
acoustics
species richness
sound
animal

Keywords

  • acoustic recording
  • autonomous recording units
  • bioacoustics
  • passive acoustic monitoring
  • point count
  • sound recorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology

Cite this

Autonomous sound recording outperforms human observation for sampling birds : a systematic map and user guide. / Darras, Kevin; Batáry, P.; Furnas, Brett J.; Grass, Ingo; Mulyani, Yeni A.; Tscharntke, Teja.

In: Ecological Applications, Vol. 29, No. 6, e01954, 01.09.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Darras, Kevin ; Batáry, P. ; Furnas, Brett J. ; Grass, Ingo ; Mulyani, Yeni A. ; Tscharntke, Teja. / Autonomous sound recording outperforms human observation for sampling birds : a systematic map and user guide. In: Ecological Applications. 2019 ; Vol. 29, No. 6.
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