Listening to Nature with Wildlife Acoustics – By Fran Tattersall
Why Wildlife Acoustics?
Our world is alive with the sounds of nature. Wildlife Acoustics creates reliable, intuitive, and affordable tools to capture and interpret those vocalisations.
A leading manufacturer of professional bioacoustics monitoring equipment, Wildlife Acoustics make recorders and microphones that capture sound in the ultrasonic and acoustic ranges. Accompanying these is our sophisticated sound analysis package, Kaleidoscope Pro.
We are a passionate and innovative group of sound engineers, operational experts, wildlife enthusiasts and professional ecologists. Our customers are at the heart of what we do, and we are constantly listening to their needs to ensure our products lead the way in bioacoustic recording.
Our Latest Bat Recorder – the Mini Bat
Our latest unattended bat recorder, the Song Meter Mini Bat, is one of the smallest and most affordable professional recorders on the market. It also has one of the longest autonomous recording times of any bat recorder. And it is the first to leverage the processing power of modern smart phones for scheduling recordings and checking the unit’s status, using the free Mini Configurator app.
The Mini Configurator app is available from the App Store or Google Play store. It will work with most smartphones or tablets that have Bluetooth version 4.0 or later and run either iOS 10 or later, or Android 5.0 or later. Check our web site for details.
Priced at $749 in the USA (excluding taxes and delivery) the Song Meter Mini Bat is available to buy in the UK and Ireland from NHBS, Wildcare and Wildlife & Countryside Services.
Little bigger than two packs of playing cards, the SM Mini Bat punches well above its weight with these great features:
- Comparable recording quality to the industry standard Song Meter SM4BAT
- Records in Full Spectrum and/or Zero Crossing
- Lightweight, at 290g including batteries, and just 123 x 134 x 36mm
- Fully weatherproof
- Advanced triggering and optional noise scrubber focus recordings on sounds of interest
- Check status, change settings and schedule wirelessly via Bluetooth on your mobile device
- Comes with one integrated ultrasonic microphone and the option to purchase an additional microphone for acoustic recording.
- Record up to 30 ten-hour nights with 4 AA batteries (or 150 ten-hour nights with 6 lithium-ion batteries in optional lid – coming soon)
What Detector Should I Choose?
If you’ve used an Echo Meter Touch 2 or Song Meter SM4BAT-FS, you might ask how these compare with the Mini Bat?
Despite its size, the Mini Bat is not designed for transects – for these, the Echo Meter Touch 2 family remains the best option. Like the Mini Bat, the EMT2 range leverages the power of a smart phone or tablet, albeit in very different ways. For example, the EMT2 logs every recording location if your device has GPS functionality (or purchase a Bluetooth GPS module to stream location data to your device). And while you are in the field, the Auto-ID function suggests the identification of the species you are recording and tags the file with the species’ name.
If you’re looking for bats at height, for example at a wind farm, you’re probably going to need a cabled microphone. In this case the SM4BAT-FS is the right product choice. The Mini Bat, by contrast, has a built-in microphone that cannot be extended away from the unit.
Very long term monitoring might be another reason to choose the SM4BAT-FS. With additional cabling, you can connect this to a 12V battery or even mains power, and with two SD card slots you have double the memory capacity of the Mini Bat.
Running from battery alone, however, the Mini Bat has the edge, lasting up to a massive 150 ten-hour nights with the Li-ion battery lid to be released later this year – why not sign up to our newsletter to make sure you are one of the first to hear when this becomes available?
Although we are perhaps best known for our ultrasonic recorders, Wildlife Acoustics also make recorders for birds and other animals that call within the audible (acoustic) range.
In fact, it was trying to detect and identify bird song that started our CEO, Ian Agranat, on his journey to making Wildlife Acoustics what it is today.
Using static recorders to augment human ears during a survey can be an extremely useful tool that is relatively underutilised in the UK and Ireland. It is particularly valuable for surveying for species that call at night, are unpredictable, or are very sensitive to disturbance. Eagle owls, nightjar and capercaillie are all examples of species where acoustic recorders can greatly assist with surveying. Why not review our list of relevant publications for more details?
Our latest static acoustic recorder is the Song Meter Mini. With the same physical build, smart phone connectivity and affordable price as the Mini Bat, the SM Mini brings professional acoustic recording within reach of consultancies and research projects alike. Its simplicity to use, small size and robust construction make it particularly suitable for citizen science projects.
Kaleidoscope Pro – Bringing it all Together
Kaleidoscope Pro is our flagship sound analysis programme, and the final tool you’ll need in your sound analysis journey. With Kaleidoscope Pro you can easily find and identify vocalizations within terabytes of recordings and pull out relevant metrics for reporting.
The free Viewer element lets you examine ultrasonic and acoustic sound files visually, listen to recordings, apply bandpass filters, and manually tag files (for example with an ID).
The paid elements of Kaleidoscope Pro include auto-ID assistance tailored for bats in the UK and Ireland. Combined with sortable parameter tables this helps you work through thousands of files in a day. Why not join one of our online classes to find out how its done?
The Wildlife Acoustics Difference
A Wildlife Acoustics product is not merely a purchase — it’s an investment. Our relationship doesn’t end at checkout. That’s where it begins. We’re here to support you all the way, from deployment to conclusion, and on to your next project.
From our comprehensive suite of online resources and full-time support staff to our in-person trainings and beyond, Wildlife Acoustics is dedicated to ensuring you get the most out of your equipment.
During this very difficult time of the Covid-19 pandemic, we are supporting our customers via our Virtual Community Portal. We are offering free live Zoom training courses, drop-in sessions and face to face sessions with a technician where needed.
Blog posts on the CIEEM website are the views and opinions of the author(s) credited. They do not necessarily represent the views or position of CIEEM. The CIEEM blog is intended to be a space in which we publish though-provoking and discussion-stimulating articles.