This week, we were asked to take a shot at nocmig (or recording nocturnal bird migration.) I read the articles included in our syllabus and even did a number of images searches after learning how easily effective DIY nocmig setups can be. The idea of being able to take such measurements in such a way is fascinating to me!
Unfortunately, I live in somewhat noisy part (and hopping, even in a pandemic, sadly) of Brooklyn and the first night I was able to record after the mini shotgun mic I ordered came in was Friday. That didn’t stop me from trying to capture some sounds to run through Raven Lite. (Saturday night it rained. Boo.)
I took recordings at 8PM, 9PM, 10PM, 11PM, 12AM, and 2AM for between 10 – 15 minutes on Friday night, April 23rd, 2021. As I’d read that recordings longer than 20 minutes needed to be separated into different tracks, I didn’t just leave the recording going… though that would have been my initial inclination as rare is a quiet moment in my neighborhood on a Friday night. I’ve included images of my setup–which I was quite proud of–below:
Essentially, I attached an iPhone to a shotgun (directional) mic hanging over a bowl with the end pointing toward the bottom of the bowl. The bowl was outside on the patio and the iPhone was just inside the window. I had hoped to run a couple of them through Raven Light real quick after my last recording at 2:15am, but I quickly realized I would need to watch the introduction videos linked when I downloaded the program.
The next day, I went through the recordings after watching the intro video on how to get started. One thing I’d noticed from the examples, and remembered from the podcast of the sound guy, was that the bird calls hover around 5KHz, so that’s something I looked for when I looked more closely at the visual representations of my recordings. Almost all the sounds that appeared spanned the whole range of the spectrograph. For the most part, they ended up being: loud music of passing cars, noisy motorcycles, people shouting, and even what sounded like an airplane.
This week, I decided to give my birding observations a go in one long 1 hour session. I seriously I’d get bored after half an hour or so, but there was so much going on! Specifically, there’s a new bird in town! I didn’t see nearly as many as I heard, but there was quite a few European Starlings in the area. I noticed that, while the House Sparrows were still around, it was almost as if they took turns hanging out in 7 to 10 minute increments.