JRM Vol.29 No.1 pp. 213-223
doi: 10.20965/jrm.2017.p0213


HARKBird: Exploring Acoustic Interactions in Bird Communities Using a Microphone Array

Reiji Suzuki*1, Shiho Matsubayashi*1, Richard W. Hedley*2, Kazuhiro Nakadai*3,*4, and Hiroshi G. Okuno*5

*1Graduate School of Information Science, Nagoya University
Furo-cho, Chikusa-ku, Nagoya 464-8601, Japan

*2Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California Los Angeles
Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA
*3Department of Systems and Control Engineering, School of Engineering, Tokyo Institute of Technology
2-12-1 Ookayama, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 152-8552, Japan
*4Honda Research Institute Japan Co., Ltd.
8-1 Honcho, Wako, Saitama 351-0114, Japan
*5Graduate School of Fundamental Science and Engineering, Waseda University
3-4-1 Okubo, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 169-8555, Japan

August 1, 2016
October 12, 2016
February 20, 2017
bird songs, localization, temporal soundscape partitioning, microphone array, HARK

HARKBird: Exploring Acoustic Interactions in Bird Communities Using a Microphone Array

Bird songs recorded and localized by HARKBird

Understanding auditory scenes is important when deploying intelligent robots and systems in real-world environments. We believe that robot audition can better recognize acoustic events in the field as compared to conventional methods such as human observation or recording using single-channel microphone array. We are particularly interested in acoustic interactions among songbirds. Birds do not always vocalize at random, for example, but may instead divide a soundscape so that they avoid overlapping their songs with those of other birds. To understand such complex interaction processes, we must collect much spatiotemporal data in which multiple individuals and species are singing simultaneously. However, it is costly and difficult to annotate many or long recorded tracks manually to detect their interactions. In order to solve this problem, we are developing HARKBird, an easily-available and portable system consisting of a laptop PC with open-source software for robot audition HARK (Honda Research Institute Japan Audition for Robots with Kyoto University) together with a low-cost and commercially available microphone array. HARKBird enables us to extract the songs of multiple individuals from recordings automatically. In this paper, we introduce the current status of our project and report preliminary results of recording experiments in two different types of forests – one in the USA and the other in Japan – using this system to automatically estimate the direction of arrival of the songs of multiple birds, and separate them from the recordings. We also discuss asymmetries among species in terms of their tendency to partition temporal resources.

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Last updated on Mar. 24, 2017