Phys.org: ‘Dark ecology project’ will use past weather radar data to trace bird migrations . “Every spring and fall, billions of birds migrate across the United States, largely unseen under the cover of darkness. Now a team of researchers led by computer scientist Daniel Sheldon at the University of Massachusetts Amherst plan to develop new analytic methods with data collected over the past 20 years—more than 200 million archived radar scans from the national weather radar network—to provide powerful new tools for tracking migration.”
The Hindu: A birder gives wings to three centuries of South Asian ornithology. “Mr. [Aasheesh] Pittie has spent long and absorbed hours in them, poring over dusty journals for papers on birds. His little-known labour of love has resulted in … a bibliographic database with the mandate of indexing everything that has been published on the birds of South Asia in the printed or electronic form since the mid-eighteenth century onward, made searchable with keywords.”
University of Florida: UF researcher: Online tool helps make neighborhoods more bird-friendly. “When it comes to urban planning, sometimes a bird in hand is not worth two in the bush. Researchers with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences have created an online tool to help planners strategically conserve forest fragments and tree canopy that will attract more birds and enhance future biodiversity. The Building for Birds web tool predicts how the distribution of trees and tree patches in a new development will impact resident and migrating bird habitat. Users can test different arrangements to see how they can optimize habitat for different development scenarios.”
Not terribly new but new-to-me; the Audubon Society has launched a database of native plants for birds. “Birds and plants that are native to an area have evolved together and often have these mutually beneficial connections. Non-native plant species do not have these connections to native birds and can create ‘food deserts’ for our birds. This is a problem in the United States, where many common landscaping plants are not native to the country. In the fall of 2016 Audubon launched our Plants for Birds programme, which encourages and empowers people in the US to support birds by planting native species whenever possible.” The splash page for this resource shows a form for providing e-mail and a search box for zip code; you apparently do not need to provide your e-mail address to search. I was impressed with the number of resources I got for my search! Please note this is for the United States only.
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.”