Using bird acoustic analysis within ecological consultancy

Environmental Consultancies


Guest blog by Kate Downes from Ethos Environmental Planning

We are an ecological consultancy, working predominantly in the south-west of the UK, and we started using Song Meter Mini recorders specifically for birds in winter 2023 with one urban project in Bristol where we were able to confirm the presence of peregrines and some interesting nocturnal migration over the site.

Since then we’ve used acoustic set ups on up to ten sites in various locations in the UK with some fascinating results. We’ve mostly been focused on presence absence of bird species, using acoustics as a complementary survey aid, alongside breeding bird and winter bird surveys. We are finding that the acoustics can identify species which may be difficult to see during other surveys; like barn owl and very excitingly nightingales!

Deploying our recorders at the peak of the nightingale season in early May, we picked up a multitude of calls, right through the night and into the early hours, as would be expected of the species. These results have helped us to tailor our surveys to maximise success in identifying nightingale territories which will help to inform the best outcomes for mitigation and habitat enhancement. We’re excited to see what we’ll discover next!