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A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…
(Actually, right now, right here on planet Earth.)

Declining in numbers from the pressures of climate change, habitat loss, fragmentation, and more, nocturnal birds are fighting the good fight. And researchers are joining in. Using the Force (ahem, bioacoustics) for good, scientists are monitoring every hoot, bark, scream, and whistle to ensure their conservation. How are they doing it?

Find out at our FREE webinar on May 4th.

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Talks & Presenters

How to Stay Lazy: Surveying Nocturnal Birds, While Staying in Bed

Nocturnal birds are difficult to survey. You can hardly see them, and they’re active when we don’t want to be. But many nocturnal birds are rare and declining, and as conservationists, we can’t ignore them. Automated acoustic monitoring is therefore a great option for gathering data on their presence, distribution, and numbers while getting a full eight hours of shut-eye and preventing sleep deprivation. This talk will cover some recent studies on nocturnal birds, describing the methods used, the results gathered, and how they might be applied to nature conservation—including the development of methods guidance.

About Dr. Carlos Abrahams, BSc, PgC, MSc, MCIEEM

Dr. Carlos Abrahams is the Director of Bioacoustics at Baker Consultants and a Senior Lecturer at Nottingham Trent University in the UK. He completed his PhD on the applied use of bioacoustics for nature conservation, with a primary focus on rare bird species. He has been an ecological consultant for over 20 years, following previous roles in site management. He has a deep interest in developing practical guidance for the use of bioacoustic and ecoacoustic methods within the nature conservation sector.

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Using Acoustic Monitoring to Detect Barn Owls in an Area of Range Expansion

Barn owls (Tyto alba) were generally considered extralimital in Minnesota until the International Owl Center’s fixed recording equipment picked them up in 2014, 2017, 2018, and 2019 during a great horned owl study. In 2020, the Center began using Song Meter Minis to detect barn owls in other locations in southeastern Minnesota and southwestern Wisconsin. Despite being strictly nocturnal and far less vocal than other owl species, barn owls were recorded at a variety of new locations. This research is largely responsible for doubling the number of barn owl reports in Minnesota in recorded history, and its state listing status will be reconsidered during the next review of rare species listings. This talk will cover methods used (equipment, software, and settings), location and length of recorder placement, what worked, what didn’t, and tricks that helped find barn owls in Kaleidoscope.

About Karla Bloem

Karla Bloem is the founder and Executive Director of the International Owl Center, a nonprofit that seeks to educate people about owls and inspire them to take conservation action. She began studying the vocalizations of wild and captive great horned owls (Bubo virginianus) in Minnesota in 2004 when her fixed recorders began to detect barn owls (considered extralimital in the area). Over the past three years, Karla has detected barn owls in a variety of new locations, effectively redefining their status in the state with the help of acoustic monitoring.

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Passive Acoustic Monitoring of Northern Spotted Owls: This Is the Way

Northern spotted owls (Strix occidentalis caurina) are an important indicator species for old-growth forests—a primary reason scientists have monitored their populations since the 1980s. Using mark-resight methods and call-back surveys, the results of spotted owl monitoring have significantly influenced large-scale land management and conservation decisions. However, traditional methods are increasingly expensive and less viable as spotted owl populations decline. Passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) provides an effective, non-invasive way to detect spotted owl presence and population trends, sex individuals, and estimate pair-occupancy rates. A key component of our monitoring program’s success has been the development of machine learning models that automate species detections and enable rapid data processing and analysis workflows. By leveraging new technologies, northern spotted owl monitoring will expand the scope of inference to broad biodiversity monitoring and better link to remote sensing datasets to support decision-makers facing challenges in dynamic landscapes.

About Damon B. Lesmeister, PhD

Dr. Damon Lesmeister is the Principal Investigator of the Predator-Prey and Bioacoustics Lab in Corvallis, Oregon. He is a Research Wildlife Biologist with USDA Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station and holds Courtesy Faculty appointments with Oregon State University’s College of Forestry, and College of Agricultural Sciences. Dr. Lesmeister co-advises graduate students with OSU faculty. He has studied avian and mammalian predators and their prey in a variety of forest ecosystems.

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