Listening at a Higher Altitude

Our group focused on the night flight calls of birds that pass through the Charlottesville area. This involved procuring special equipment that would allow us to catch the sounds of birds as they flew hundreds of feet above the ground. The sound recording system – while it did only come in a few weeks ago – proved a very effective way of capturing these calls. Of course, many factors played into the final result, including street level disturbances and recording timings, but I ultimately was able to collect some data.

From those in the group that recorded on nights before me, I was told that the ideal time for capturing bird calls was around dusk. In fact, the recording equipment had a setting that recorded from dusk until dawn. I placed the equipment on the roof of my building on 14th Street and waited until around 1 AM to take it down.

Around the beginning of the recording, most of what I heard was coming from appliances on the roof and music from people’s apartments. As the night wore on, however, I was able to hear what seemed to be various night calls. While I still have no way of being completely certain of what I heard, I compared some of the sounds I heard to established information of birds that travel through the Charlottesville area. I believe I recorded the movement of warblers, finches, and sparrows – many of which are passing by as they migrate. This data coincides with the fact that I see many finches and sparrows during the day – although I am not familiar with warblers. A very helpful resource for my resource was the Monticello Bird Club, which is the primary database of information on bird life in the area.

For future experimentation, I would definitely suggest grouping this knowledge with the other bird group in order to figure out which species are more native to the area and which are simply passing by.

Post by Pranay Advani