Now available and still developing: a database of birds in India. “Bringing cheer to thousands of budding environmental photographers and amateur bird watchers, the Bombay Natural History Society (BHNS) has recently launched a one-of-its-kind online platform that identifies Indian bird species using artificial intelligence.” Currently over 300 species are in the database; plans are to expand it the 1300 species of birds in India.
The Internet Bird Collection (IBC) Web site is getting an update. “The Internet Bird Collection (IBC) is an important sister-project to HBW Alive and most of our HBW Alive subscribers probably already know it well. For the few who haven’t fully discovered it yet, it is the most globally comprehensive website of audiovisual recordings of the birds of the world.”
Okay, then: Turning tweets into literal twittering. “Scientists in Brazil are using a genetic algorithm to create a realistic soundscape of birdsong that can be triggered by updates from the micro-blogging service, Twitter, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year. Details of the computer model which mimics the behavior of a bird’s songbox, its ‘syrinx’, to create realistic sounds are published this month in the International Journal of Arts and Technology.”
This is very cool! The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has created an animated map of bird migration in the Western Hemisphere. “For the first time, scientists at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology have documented migratory movements of bird populations spanning the entire year for 118 species throughout the Western Hemisphere. The study finds broad similarity in the routes used by specific groups of species—vividly demonstrated by animated maps showing patterns of movement across the annual cycle.”
You know about Angry Birds. How about archivist birds? “Archaeologists restoring a cathedral in Zvenigorod, an old town 40 miles west of Moscow, recently stumbled upon stacks of centuries-old documents hoarded by an unexpected breed of collectors: birds. Over time, the creatures had scavenged scraps of letters, newspaper clippings, candy wrappers, banknotes, and other bits of printed matter to form insulated nests in the building’s attic, and while most of these papers are crumpled or torn by beaks, the contents of many are still decipherable, revealing source dates that extend as far back as the early 19th-century.”
New-to-me, and man do I love the Internet: a database that tracks pigeon activity in movies and television. “Did you know that way back in season one of Game of Thrones, at exactly the 55-minute mark of episode 9, Arya Stark looks up at the sky and sees a flock of wild pigeons? Did you also note that 57 minutes and 20 seconds into the 1999 film The Matrix, a group of pigeons with only average training fly through the scene only to be completely ignored by all the characters?”
Cornell University has fully-digitized its natural sounds archive. “It took archivists a dozen years to complete the monumental task. The collection contains nearly 150,000 digital audio recordings equaling more than 10 terabytes of data with a total run time of 7,513 hours. About 9,000 species are represented. There’s an emphasis on birds, but the collection also includes sounds of whales, elephants, frogs, primates and more.”