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Data from: AviaNZ: a future-proofed program for annotation and recognition of animal sounds in long-time field recordings

Cite this dataset

Marsland, Stephen; Priyadarshani, Nirosha; Juodakis, Julius; Castro, Isabel (2019). Data from: AviaNZ: a future-proofed program for annotation and recognition of animal sounds in long-time field recordings [Dataset]. Dryad.


The routine collection of long‐time acoustic recordings of animals in the field presents new challenges in data analysis. While many terabytes of data are collected annually, effective use of this noisy, highly variable data require skilled humans to manually identify calls. While computer programs to automatically analyse these recordings are becoming available, it is important that they are user‐friendly and easy‐to‐use, so that everybody – citizen scientists, wildlife managers, researchers – can take advantage of them, and that they keep the human in the loop so analyses carried out this year are comparable both to manual call counts from the past, and more accurate automated analyses performed in the future. We present the AviaNZ program, which is designed to achieve these goals: the software includes methods for simple, rapid manual annotation of recordings, denoising and segmentation methods, and a training procedure by which the user can prepare their own filters to automatically recognize individual species. The software can run in batch mode, automatically processing folders of field recordings, and then present the outputs to enable the quick and easy review of the results. Finally, the outputs are presented in a variety of spreadsheets to enable different statistical analyses to be performed. We describe the various workflows of manually and semi‐automatically processing sound files, annotating them to train automatic filters, using those filters in batch mode, and how the software facilitates rapid evaluation of the automated analysis. A demonstration of the software, comparing manual and automatic detection of calls of the little spotted kiwi Apteryx owenii is given. It shows that while the automatic detection does produce false positives, human correction of these is far faster than manual review of the whole sound file. AviaNZ is a freely available open‐source standalone program. Our experience shows that it can be used by anybody quickly and easily. However, for experienced users it is easily customizable and extendable. By enabling everybody involved with acoustic bird recording to quickly and easily analyse their own data, while future‐proofing it by keeping the human in the loop, we are enabling acoustic field recordings to meet their potential.

Usage notes


New Zealand