Oct 13, 2022 - Business

New tool identifies birds in your backyard

Haikubox installed on a wall.

Photo: Ben Montgomery/Axios

"I got a tufted titmouse!" I shouted at my 16-year-old daughter a few weeks ago.

What's happening: After we wrote about migrating warblers back in August, the folks at Loggerhead Instruments in Sarasota sent us a new tool they've been perfecting that identifies the birds in your vicinity by their song β€” like Shazam for birds!

  • Loggerhead founder and president David Mann tells Axios that after years of making specialty underwater listening devices, he wanted to make a useful product he could bring to a larger commercial market.

Details: Haikubox is a first-of-its-kind AI-enabled device that continuously detects and identifies backyard birds with help from a neural net and thousands of bird recordings at Cornell.

What I did: Downloaded an app, plugged Haikubox in outside my house and connected it to Wi-Fi, then waited.

  • The app quickly started queuing the birds nearby, recording each call for playback.
  • A barred owl and common nighthawk visited after dark. A downy woodpecker and blue-gray gnatcatcher showed up. Palm warblers and rose-breasted grosbeaks pass through.
  • That tufted titmouse is my buddy, though. I see the bird every day.

Haikubox can send an alert when certain birds or new species are recorded and lets you see which other locations have recorded those species.

  • It also connects users to a slew of information about birds.

The big picture: The data being recorded in my yard can help tell a much bigger story β€” about migration patterns, when species are active, and environmental changes.

  • Every Haikubox owner is like a citizen-scientist, contributing information to the largest dataset of bird behavior ever assembled.

What they're saying: Holger Klinck, director of the K. Lisa Yang Center for Conservation Bioacoustics at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, tells Axios that thousands of Haikuboxes all over the United States and Europe, each continuously collecting bird data, would be a significant improvement over annual bird censuses, where human birders collect and submit information periodically.

Of note: You can buy and connect Haikubox for life for $399, or pay $249 for the box plus $59 per year for a subscription.

Screenshots of the Haikubox app.
Screenshots of the Haikubox app

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