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On-bird Sound Recordings: Automatic Acoustic Recognition of Activities and Contexts
IEEE Transactions on Audio, Speech and Language Processing
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We introduce a novel approach to studying animal behaviour and the context in which it occurs, through the use of microphone backpacks carried on the backs of individual free-flying birds. These sensors are increasingly used by animal behaviour researchers to study individual vocalisations of freely behaving animals, even in the field. However such devices may record more than an animals vocal behaviour, and have the potential to be used for investigating specific activities (movement) and context (background) within which vocalisations occur. To facilitate this approach, we investigate the automatic annotation of such recordings through two different sound scene analysis paradigms: a scene-classification method using feature learning, and an event-detection method using probabilistic latent component analysis (PLCA). We analyse recordings made with Eurasian jackdaws (Corvus monedula) in both captive and field settings. Results are comparable with the state of the art in sound scene analysis; we find that the current recognition quality level enables scalable automatic annotation of audio logger data, given partial annotation, but also find that individual differences between animals and/or their backpacks limit the generalisation from one individual to another. we consider the interrelation of 'scenes' and 'events' in this particular task, and issues of temporal resolution.