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Field work

Audio recording

Media collection is one of our main priorities and time-consuming endeavors. Media of any kind, not only audio recordings, is sparse or nonexistent for lots of Bornean birds. Many species have never been recorded and/or catalogued, and many novel vocalizations for particular species still remain to be identified and described.

Recorded vocalizations provide fundamental data that can be used to answer a wide range of questions about vocalizations and sound production. For example, we are currently looking closely at two peculiar sounds that were produced by one of our more charismatic species: the Black-headed Pitta (Pitta ussheri). This species of Pitta was identified by our team as producing two peculiar novel songs: a non-vocal "clap" we suspect might be used to signal territoriality, and a song that is strikingly reminiscent of a Blue-headed Pitta (Pitta baudii) vocalization that we suspect might be used in mate attraction. While we are still trying to answer many of these questions, they never would have existed if we had not taken the time to record Pittas in the field, and catalogue them at home. Who knows what other questions remain hidden within these vocalizations? The only way to find out is to go out and record!

We note all relevant information associated with a recording by speaking it into the microphone before we stop the recording. This helps us when cataloguing the recording, and ensures that no information was left by the wayside. We take note of the following:

  1. The name of the person recording
  2. Date, time and location (GPS point preferred)
  3. Species recorded (if known at the time)
  4. Weather conditions
  5. Whether the recording was natural or not (using playback)
  6. Interesting behavioral observations and/or background species

Content by Jack Hruska.

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