Restoring landscapes across the Mount Alexander Region

Listening to Nature: a sonic landscape

Posted on 20 June, 2019 by Ivan

Hot off the press! The first video featuring nocturnal bird calls from the Mount Alexander region using song meter audio recorders.

During 2018, a group of volunteers conducted a project to monitor nocturnal birds in the Mt Alexander region, Central Victoria, using Song Meter recorders. This was a ‘Communities Listening for Nature’ project run by Victoria National Parks Association (VNPA) in partnership with Museums Victoria and assistance from Connecting Country.

The Communities Listening to Nature project uses automated sound recorders to monitor birds in their natural environments. The recorder recorded bird calls at many sites over long time periods. Partnering with local groups, the VNPA have been installing recorders at several locations, including Mount Worth State Park and surrounding district, Bunyip State Park, Mount Alexander region and the Wombat State Forest.

Each location has its own study design, which has been developed with input from local groups and land managers, and scientists from Museums Victoria. The recorded bird calls will help them learn more about Victoria’s birds. The recordings are also added to the public library of Victorian bird sounds managed by Museums Victoria and available to everyone from their online collections. Communities Listening for Nature is being carried out in partnership with Museums Victoria and with generous support from the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust.

For more information on the Listening to Nature project, please click here.

The video was produced by RMIT University student Charlie, who worked as an intern with Sera Blair at VNPA for a few weeks. One of his projects was to prepare a video based on the Listening for Nature Song Meter recordings. They selected segments from recordings from a local Sandon property and Charlie then blended these together to make a night-time story.

Thanks to local legend Jennifer Rolland for annotation and habitat images, and to Andrew Haysom for Eastern Yellow Robin and Superb Fairy-wren images.

The project uses spectrograms. Spectrograms are a visual representation of an audio signal, with the pitch or frequency displayed vertically, and the time horizontally. High frequencies (like those made by bats) are near the top of the image, while lower frequencies are near the bottom of the image.

7 responses to “Listening to Nature: a sonic landscape”

  1. Linda says:

    I love the sound of Australian wilderness in the morning.. So many distinctive, recognisable calls, but the names of the birds I didn’t necessarily know before. It’s beautiful. I also love what you have done with this video Charlie! The spectogram image is almost like sheet music

  2. Susan says:

    I am in England at the moment and can’t wait to get home to hear the sounds of our Box Ironbark woodlands especially from dusk to dawn.

  3. John Carruthers says:

    Quite beautiful. A reminder of what a healthy landscape sounds like…Tagging the myriad of calls was impressive. Thank you. A really interesting project.

  4. Sue Boekel says:

    Thank you for sharing this fantastic experience with us all.

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