Decades of bird signals, songs digitized for scientific research

The world’s largest scientific archive of animal signal recordings, the Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds, is partnering with other institutions to co-curate and digitize an enormous archive of animal audio and video recordings from their vaults. The analogue material in the library’s collection at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology includes recordings of mainly birds, but also frogs, fish and insects, going back a few decades. The collections are a bonanza for animal behaviorists, who use the archives to study birds and other animals from all over the world, including some that are now extinct, such as the imperial woodpecker. Accessible digital audio recordings of animal signals will make it easier for researchers to investigate a host of scientific questions, including the responses of animals to anthropogenic noise and other human activities. By providing a useful co-curation system and encouraging collection of recordings along with physical specimens, this project is expected to transform the way researchers collect and use biological specimens in the future.

Provided by National Science Foundation

Runtime: 3:20

More Science Nation videos

Get Science360's video of the day in your mailbox each weekday.

Sign up now!