Extending bioacoustic monitoring of birds aloft through flight call localization with a three-dimensional microphone array

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Stepanian, P. M., Horton, K. G., Hille, D. C., Wainwright, C. E., Chilson, P. B. and Kelly, J. F. 2016. Extending bioacoustic monitoring of birds aloft through flight call localization with a three-dimensional microphone array. Ecology and Evolution. 6 (19), pp. 7039-7046. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.2447

AuthorsStepanian, P. M., Horton, K. G., Hille, D. C., Wainwright, C. E., Chilson, P. B. and Kelly, J. F.
Abstract

Bioacoustic localization of bird vocalizations provides unattended observations of the location of calling individuals in many field applications. While this technique has been successful in monitoring terrestrial distributions of calling birds, no published study has applied these methods to migrating birds in flight. The value of nocturnal flight call recordings can increase with the addition of three-dimensional position retrievals, which can be achieved with adjustments to existing localization techniques. Using the time difference of arrival method, we have developed a proof-of-concept acoustic microphone array that allows the three-dimensional positioning of calls within the airspace. Our array consists of six microphones, mounted in pairs at the top and bottom of three 10-m poles, arranged in an equilateral triangle with sides of 20 m. The microphone array was designed using readily available components and costs less than $2,000 USD to build and deploy. We validate this technique using a kite-lofted GPS and speaker package, and obtain 60.1% of vertical retrievals within the accuracy of the GPS measurements (+/- 5 m) and 80.4% of vertical retrievals within +/- 10 m. The mean Euclidian distance between the acoustic retrievals of flight calls and the GPS truth was 9.6 m. Identification and localization of nocturnal flight calls have the potential to provide species-specific spatial characterizations of bird migration within the airspace. Even with the inexpensive equipment used in this trial, low-altitude applications such as surveillance around wind farms or oil platforms can benefit from the three-dimensional retrievals provided by this technique.

KeywordsEcology; Evolutionary Biology
Year of Publication2016
JournalEcology and Evolution
Journal citation6 (19), pp. 7039-7046
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.2447
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderDivision of Emerging Frontiers
Publisher's version
PublisherWiley
Grant IDEF-1340921
ISSN2045-7758

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