The Black Summer Bushfires in Australia in 2019 and 2020 were particularly bad. The east in particular, but also other areas of the country, were affected. In south-east Queensland, the eastern bristlebird went silent during this intense bushfire season.
The small ground-dwelling bird is well camouflaged in its surroundings with its cinnamon brown color. It was largely destroyed in this region of Australia. Only 40 individuals are said to have lived in the northern population, writes the "Guardian". So it's not exactly surprising that nobody has seen the cautious and shy bird since then.
He's good at hiding. The way to find him is through his singing. But that is complex. It usually takes a person playing a recording of the bird in the woods - hoping for a response from a real specimen. There is always a portion of luck involved.
Acoustic monitoring has been widely used for a long time. It not only helps in detecting and observing birds, but also amphibians, fish or marine mammals.
A search like that for the Eastern Bristlebird, as it is known in English, is intense. It takes a lot of time and manpower. All the recordings, minute by minute, would have to be evaluated by someone, says Susan Fuller from the Queensland University of Technology the "Guardian".
She therefore speaks of a "groundbreaking change" when she talks about the use of artificial intelligence. An expert who knows the call of the eastern bristlebird trained artificial intelligence to distinguish it from other sounds or bird songs. He chased footage of the animal's habitat through the program. Lo and behold: over a period of two months, it filtered out 350 calls from the bird that was believed to be missing.
Fuller sees considerable potential for nature conservation in the use of artificial intelligence, for example to use recordings to identify the calls of individual animals, not just species.
Quellen: Guardian, The Cornell Lab, Australian Government