Database of mammal sounds
I was surprised to see that there isn’t a database where we can share sounds of mammals as there is for birds (xeno-canto.org). Living in an African National Park I often hear calls that I cannot identify and fail to compare them with what I think it is.
Therefore I bought myself a recorder and started recording as much as possible, but still cannot share them on a appropriate platform. Maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea to create such a platform under mammalwatching.com so we can start sharing these recordings.
I never tried to see a lynx by playing the sound of a squeeling roe deer, but that’s the method we use to inventory predators in Africa. But where can one find the sound of a squeeling roe deer…
The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology has a section devoted to Mammal recordings and videos: http://macaulaylibrary.org/browse/taxa/mammalia. It’s missing many taxa, but it’s a start.
I just checked Cornell’s Library of Natural Sounds and they had no roe deer but 33 recordings of elephants. It’s a big investment to start something like this so probably best if mammalwatching.com can provide a link per Jon’s idea.
But is it better to link to many or to suggest one central repository?
There are devices on sale in America which generate recordings of distressed prey species (including deer). They’re used mainly by hunters. A mate and I had great fun one time playing things like wolf howls in the Atlantic rainforest in Brazil. God knows what the locals thought!
None of the recordings produced any positive results by the way.
This is something I’ve always wanted to see. I can get in touch with a friend who did a lot of work on xeno-canto to see what what would be required to add mammals to that site (or create a sister site with the same layout). It could be as simple as finding someone willing to manage the taxonomy.
I’ve spent a lot of time searching for sound recordings of mammals, as I rely heavily on my ears to detect wildlife. Here’s what I’ve found:
1. The Macaulay Library – it has a bunch of recordings, but be careful as some (many?) are misidentified.
2. For South America, this CD is great: https://www.amazon.com/Sounds-Neotropical-Rainforest-Mammals-Audio/dp/0938027409
3. Nocturnal African Mammals: http://www.wildsolutions.nl/vocal-profiles/
4. This database has some mammal vocalizations, and was very useful on my recent trip to Sierra Leone: https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/bird-sounds/
5. The book Des Primates d’Afrique Centrale comes with a CD
Several free mammal sound apps are available for smartphones – android at least – through the Google Playstore. I imagine some are available for iPhones too. As Steve Morgan wrote, they are produced for hunters.
The recordings include various sounds, including distress calls, of White-tailed Deer, Common Raccoon, Wolf, Coyote, Wild Turkey, rabbits, hares, boar, bear and rodents. Several palearctic species are included. Many of these sound like they could be highly effective – but as hunters attest, one has to know where, when and under what conditions such calls really work. For example, they wouldn’t be of much use if the wind blows away from you towards a predator. And, predators tend to respond most strongly to prey species with which they are familiar, versus just any curious squeaks. Responsiveness also changes seasonally, and through the day, etc.
You may find these apps by searching “coyote call”, “predator calls”, “deer calls”, “raccoon calls” etc. on Google Playstore. If you install such apps, you probably want to go into the settings and turn off “allow this app to collect anonymous usage data”.
Also, the Macaulay Library has several good recordings, and distress calls, of a number of mammal and bird species. You will want to trim the human voice headers and boost the volumes using the free audio editor Audacity. Some recordings should be effective on a variety of predators – e.g. Meadow Vole, Short-tailed Shrew, Eastern Chipmunk, Mole Shrew, and Eastern Cottontail. They also have recordings of American Mink, Snowshoe Hare, American Red Squirrel, Northern Flying Squirrel and others. Bird distress calls should also work well for mammals, especially those of wide-ranging bird species. Macaulay Library offers some for a number of species from various families.
I can’t vouch for any of these, but while squeaking for birds (using own lips) I did once attract a Red Fox. Birdwatchers report all sorts of mammals responding to such calls. Including bears… Beware of using prey distress calls / squaks in dense thickets in bear country, or anywhere a potentially-dangerous predator might surface. I had a close call once when I pished and a large, malicious-looking dog burst out of a thicket straight for me. Fortunately nothing bad happened.
I hope this is useful, best regards,
– Eran Tomer
Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Hi Mathias and others
iNaturalist doesn’t host sounds directly on the website, but through a link with SoundCloud. It’s a little bit more cumbersome than to upload photo observations. Here’s a description with a focus on bat calls: http://www.inaturalist.org/projects/afribats/journal/1949-sound-recordings-echolocation-courtship-calls-of-bats
There are apps for smart phones that allow you to record and then (later) upload to SoundCloud, which should make the workflow pretty simple.
And here’s an overview what’s already submitted:
Good to see INaturalist has this option! Definitly the way to go.
Only… I am an observation.org user and I’m reluctant to switch to INaturalist, even though I tried it a few months ago, I didn’t made the real step because of the website being to heavy to load and other reasons. All these databases (INaturalist, observation.org, ebird should be merged or linked) Sorry, this is another discussion I know.
Fully understand! The place where data from all of these platforms should come together is GBIF: http://www.gbif.org/occurrence. iNaturalist is sharing it’s ‘Research Grade’ observations (= IDed to species, and confirmed by the user community) with GBIF, but I don’t know whether http://www.observation.org is sharing its data with GBIF.
A few more sites are:
http://sounds.bl.uk/environment/British-wildlife-recordings/022M-W1CDR0001528-0600V0 (Roe Deer)
Perhaps more to follow.
It seems XC is contemplating extending their site to include more than just birds. So far, they have only added a few insect species as a trial.
Check out their Latest News december 18, 2018 at https://www.xeno-canto.org/news/archives/2018
I know others on XC have suggested similar ideas, so perhaps?
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Great idea Mathias. There are some sound libraries I know of specific to certain places, species eg this one for galagos http://wildsolutions.artexion.nl/vocal-profiles/galagoides/
But it would be great to pull a list together of relevant links. I am happy to create a page on this so if people are aware of material I can link to please comment below.