Phys .org: I used facial recognition technology on birds. “As a birder, I had heard that if you paid careful attention to the head feathers on the downy woodpeckers that visited your bird feeders, you could begin to recognize individual birds. This intrigued me. I even went so far as to try sketching birds at my own feeders and had found this to be true, up to a point. In the meantime, in my day job as a computer scientist, I knew that other researchers had used machine learning techniques to recognize individual faces in digital images with a high degree of accuracy. These projects got me thinking about ways to combine my hobby with my day job. Would it be possible to apply those techniques to identify individual birds?”
Inspired Living Omaha: Sparrow or house wren? New online resource helps you identify those birds in your feeder. “Feeding the birds is a popular hobby. As many as 53 Americans take part each year. Most people can identify a cardinal or a woodpecker. But it can be frustrating if you don’t know the other species of birds in your feeder. A new website makes it easier for birders to learn about the birds that inhabit Nebraska.”
Audubon Magazine: These Century-Old Photos Inspired Some of the West’s First Bird Refuges. “The Oregon Historical Society and Oregon State University recently collaborated on a project to collect and digitize much of the work of [William Lovell] Finley and his colleagues. During 2016 and 2017 they digitized more than 6,800 images and more than 8,000 pages of manuscript materials. The small sampling featured here offers a fascinating inside look at the beginnings of the conservation movement.”
All About Birds: Here’s How To Use The New Migration Forecast Tools From BirdCast. “Migration is the best time to be a bird watcher. Twice a year, hordes of birds travel thousands of miles to grace your home turf for a few days or weeks. But they don’t come in a steady stream—more like a cascade of arrivals coming in flurries and pauses. That’s why even during peak migration, some days are dead while others are packed with new arrivals. Now, our BirdCast project can help you know when those flurries are about to arrive, so you can plan when to get up early. They’ve boiled down decades of migration science, coupled it with real-time weather data, and created two simple tools: a 3-day migration forecast, and an up-to-the-moment replay of migration activity.”
Via my Reddit alert: an online museum / archive of pigeon research. Not sure how new it is, but the domain name was registered at the beginning of February. From the front page: “The online pigeon library and museum is the personal collection of Adam Archer, NSW Australia. The resources here were gathered over many years, and are published on this site for the benefit of anyone seeking to learn more about these wonderful creatures. Items are slowly being uploaded to the online collection.” There are 260 items at this writing.
The National: Falconry Research Project: database by UAE researchers shows ubiquity of predatory bird. “From whimsical 19th century Japanese drawings to 4,000-year-old Mongolian rock art, Dutch chess pieces and Qajar tableware from Iran, the history of man’s relation to the falcon is one of the oldest recorded love stories. It is even carried in your pocket, on the country’s currency. A research project by New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) aims to bring the ubiquity of falconry imagery and its globalism to the fore with the Falconry Research Project, a database of global falconry imagery through the centuries.”
Minneapolis Star Tribune: Website keeps track of Minnesota’s breeding birds. “A new website keeps track of wild bird breeding in Minnesota. The Minnesota Breeding Bird Atlas… launched last month, the Mankato Free Press reported . The resource has graphs, interactive maps and data including where, when and how many birds are breeding in the state. Almost 250 species were observed and more than 230 bird species were confirmed during the project.”