Habitat and Population Evaluation Team
Midwest Region

Evaluating the Use of Autonomous Recording Units for Monitoring Yellow Rails and Other Nocturnal Wet Meadow Birds

Song Meter in Use

Autonomous Recording Units (ARU) are unattended recording devices developed by Wildlife Acoustics. The devices are designed to monitor vocal wildlife such as birds and frogs. For more information about ARUs please visit Wildlife Acoustics webpage at http://www.wildlifeacoustics.com/index.php

Monitoring wet meadow birds such as yellow rails, La Conte's sparrow, and Nelson's sparrow can prove difficult due to their secretive and nocturnal behaviors. Using ARUs for monitoring these species may be an effective alternative to the Standardized North American marsh bird monitoring protocol.

The objectives of this study is to:
1. Compare detections of secretive wetland birds with ARUs to detections with the standard marsh bird monitoring protocol.
2. Evaluate temporal (daily and seasonal) changes in species calling and enviromental factors influencing calling.
3. Evaluate feasibility and sampling framework for using ARUs to detect wetland birds.

Left: Song Meter Right: Song Scope Software

For additional information about this project please contact:

Anna Sidie
Habitat and Population Evaluation Team


Cry of the Marsh
Strategic Habitat Conservation
Last updated: April 6, 2011