Smart system for detecting owls: Automated technology identifies calls of Barred Owls, Boreal Owls, and Great Horned Owls


An autonomous recording unit deployed in the field to record owl calls.

PhD student Julia Shonfield in Erin Bayne’s lab at the University of Alberta has developed an automated system for detecting owl calls, eliminating the need for researchers to spend nights in the field to survey owls. This new approach combines using audio recorders with a software program that can detect owl calls, called recognizers, and is similarly accurate and far more efficient than other, more traditional methods.

For more details of this work, see the university press release here:

To hear Julia Shonfield talk about owls and her research, check out a clip of a radio interview on the local CBC Edmonton station:

“Utility of automated species recognition for acoustic monitoring of owls” by Julia Shonfield, Sarah Heemskerk, and Erin M. Bayne was published in the March 2018 issue of the Journal of Raptor Research, available at

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