Bioacoustics Research Program

Registration for this workshop is now FULL. If you would like to be added to a waiting list for cancellations and to receive announcements of future workshops, please complete a short survey about your interests and background here.

The Cornell Bioacoustics Research Program is offering a one-week integrated sound recording and analysis workshop for researchers and serious amateurs interested in wildlife sounds, 9 – 16 June 2018 at San Francisco State University’s Sierra Nevada Field Campus in the Tahoe National Forest near Calpine, CA. The workshop provides a solid foundation in bioacoustic principles, audio technology, field techniques, and analysis software and methods, for the beginner and experienced investigator alike. The field station provides lodging, meals, and space for lectures and discussions; nearby areas afford a wide range of recording opportunities and challenges in spectacular settings. Each day is comprised of several hours of field recording in the morning, and lectures, discussions, and hands-on exercises in the afternoon.

Participants gain practical skills in digital field recording methods under real-world field conditions and learn bioacoustic analysis techniques to address diverse research questions about acoustically active animals such as birds, anurans, insects, marine mammals, fish, and terrestrial mammals. Throughout the course, we emphasize how to avoid common pitfalls and errors in recording and analysis. We also discuss the limitations of acoustic methods and how to set realistic expectations when employing these techniques.

Discussions and field demonstrations will encompass the selection and application of audio recorders and microphones (including stereo and multi-channel), recording theory, metering, field recording techniques, and documentation for sound recordings. The workshop will also cover the use of the Lab’s Swift autonomous recorder for passive acoustic monitoring of habitats.

The workshop teaches the use of the Lab’s Raven Pro software for visualizing, measuring, and comparing sounds. Participants need have no prior knowledge of bioacoustic analysis. Analysis topics include the conceptual foundations of spectrogram analysis (no math required!), spectrogram parameters, measurements, automated signal detection, quantitative comparison of spectrograms, and advanced tips and tricks to make working with Raven Pro easier and more efficient.

Participants should plan to bring a recording system and a Windows or Mac laptop computer. A limited amount of recording equipment is available for loan on a “first come, first served” basis. If you require any equipment please let us know at the time you inquire about registration.

Your instructors will be Greg Budney, former Curator of Audio at the Lab’s Macaulay Library, Russ Charif and Ashik Rahaman of the Cornell Bioacoustics Research Program, Bill McQuay, former Supervising Engineer at Macaulay Library, and Laurel Symes, of Dartmouth College. An invaluable member of the instructional team is the perennial volunteer and early morning coffee wrangler, Adele Binning.

Enrollment Information

The workshop fee of $1250 includes tuition, class materials, a 1-year student license for Raven Pro (renewable as long as you are a student), ground transportation from and to the Reno airport, meals, and lodging. Enrollment is primarily based on a first-come first-served basis, with first consideration to students and researchers. Enrollment is limited to 20 participants.

San Francisco State University Campus (Dining Hall)

For questions or to enroll, please contact email 

A $100 deposit is required upon initial registration to reserve your place at the workshop. Payments are accepted in the form of check or credit card.