Have you ever noticed how many phones, apps and programs use tweet, chirp and cheep sounds as ringtones or notifications?
Exhibit A: the Twitter sound - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-nB59EVmizo
Exhibit B: Samsung Galaxy S3 chirps - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EoxaklrV4l4#t=15m42s
Did you know that in Australia, there are some 828 species of birds! So wouldn’t it be nice if our gadgets could tweet, chirp and cheep Australian bird sounds? Australia represent! At CatHacks, we thought we should literally ‘put a bird on it’ and made some ringtone and notification sounds of some of Australia’s finest. And many of these live in the Australian Capital Territory too!
According to the ACT Wildlife Atlas, sighted species in the ACT include the White-plumed Honeyeater (5 sightings in 2010), the Regent Honeyeater (8 sightings in 1998), and Lewin’s Honeyeater (1 sighting in 2015).
ACT data reports that the Superb Lyrebird was sighted in 2012.
Pied Butcherbirds are rare in Canberra, and usually seen in the north of the ACT. ACT is however home to the Grey Butcherbird, which has been officially sighted several times since 2010.
The Reed Warbler spends the summer in ACT tablelands for breeding. ACT data reports it was sighted in 2010, though the Speckled Warbler is more often seen in the territory.
No reported sightings in Canberra through they are located elsewhere around Australia.
Now, if you’re looking for something different, and a truly unique gadget alert sound, check out the call of the Great Bowerbird. Its call is not so pretty compared with the others! While the Great Bowerbird isn’t resident to Canberra, the Satin Bowerbird has been sighted quite a few times over the years.
How to install
To use these sound bytes, just download the files at the links provided and change your phone settings to play them for ringtones or notifications! Here’s the instructions.
The ‘Put our bird on it’ files are available at https://github.com/AcousticCardigan/AcousticCardigan.github.io.
How we did it
We wanted to share the beauty of Australian bird calls so drew our main content from the Bird Songs Online dataset. It contains more than 250 recordings of Australian birds from Western Australia, Canberra and Queensland from 1962 to 1988.
The samples used were from recordings with only one type of bird call in the file, so we knew what we were listening to.
This information was then supplemented with information from the Atlas of Living Australia data portal, where the population maps and images came from. Last, we sought to link this up with the ACT Wildlife Atlas to locate where they were sighted!
With more time and resources, we’d love to expand the scope of these notifications to include many more of Australia’s native birds, such as Bellbirds, Cockatoos, Cormorants, Emus, Galahs, Herons, Kookaburras, Parrots, Thornbills and Willy wagtails.
We’d also like to visually pinpoint where these species have been sighted, say on Google Maps or using more ACT terrestrial data.
We think this was a fun exercise that helps bring people closer to Australian fauna, with a focus on Canberrans. We hope you like it too!
And check out our inspiration! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHmLljk2t8M
· Bird Songs Online
o Link to dataset: http://portal.govhack.org/datasets/2016/wa/state-library-of-western-australia/bird-songs-online.html (CSV file used)
o The audio files linked within this data set were sampled, mashed up and looped to make ring tones and message alerts of native Australian birds recorded in Western Australia, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory.
o No data reuse eligibility requirements.
· The ‘Atlas of Living Australia’ data portal
o Link to data portal: http://www.ala.org.au.
o Links containing biodiversity information about the six bird species sampled were drawn from this data portal.
o Data reuse eligibility information for the images used are acknowledged in the video.
· ACT Wildlife Atlas datases
o Link to dataset https://www.data.act.gov.au/Environment/ACT-Wildlife-Atlas-Records/e9ux-7djy.
o This data was searched against the audio files sampled to identify sightings of species, or relevant species.
· Canberra Birds website at http://canberrabirds.org.au/birds
· Audacity – Audio file editing
· Adobe Photoshop CS2 – logo design, web page graphics
· Microsoft Excel – Data management
· Github – Evidence repository and web page hosting
· Microsoft Word – Project development
· Slack – Team talk