I am a member of the field operations team at the K. Lisa Yang Center for Conservation Bioacoustics. Our team places customized autonomous audio recording devices in natural environments around the world. These passively listen for and record the sounds of anything from sensitive animal species to ambient anthropogenic noise. My primary involvement in recent years has been working with our oceanographic research instruments. These are called marine autonomous recording units (MARUs) or “pop-ups.” We have more than 100 MARUs in our fleet with a majority being regularly deployed up and down the East Coast, listening for and monitoring the activities of endangered North Atlantic right whales and other species.
When I am not in the field deploying or recovering MARUs, or in the pop-up fabrication shop servicing our research equipment, I am listening to bird sounds. I have long had an interest in avian acoustics, which has only increased during my years of involvement with sound analysis at the Yang Center. My primary interest is the nocturnal flight calls of migrating passerines. By placing a skyward-pointing microphone on my home rooftop, I can record all the calls made during spring and fall migration by unseen birds passing overhead at night. By hand-browsing my audio data, using Raven sound analysis software, I soon gain a virtual picture of the migration activities of these birds traveling on their long journeys north or south.
Year hired: 1998
K. Lisa Yang Center for Conservation Bioacoustics
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA
Organizations: American Birding Association, New York State Ornithological Association, Cayuga Bird Club