26 September 2023

Technology tracks down invasive bird

Start the conversation

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) has said that automated acoustic technology that identifies calls from the European Starling has proven to be an effective tool for enhancing control measures for the pest bird.

DPIRD recently completed a three-year research project on the South Coast, sponsored by the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions (CISS).

Research Scientist and Project Lead at DPIRD, Susan Campbell said the fully-automated, solar powered, remote system could detect the ‘buzz’ and ‘whistle’ calls of starlings with great accuracy.

Dr Campbell said the acoustic surveillance technology could provide an early detection system for pest surveillance in remote locations, as well as inform control and management strategies.

“Two towers equipped with an acoustic surveillance, detection and communication device were erected at the eastern and western ends of a high-risk starling incursion zone at Bremer Bay and Gibson earlier this year to test the technology,” Dr Campbell said.

“A machine learning algorithm was trained to detect the two starling call types with a high degree of accuracy. Any detections are sent remotely from the field over Telstra’s long-range low bandwidth network for validation via an online interface.”

She said the remote acoustic surveillance system was tested in South Australia, where there are known infestations, with really pleasing results.

“We further validated the technology on site in Western Australia using playback audio recordings of starlings,” Dr Campbell said.

The DPIRD is now considering the application of the technology, as part of its integrated pest management activities.

Dr Campbell said the project outcomes built on previous research co-funded by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences and would provide an innovative boost to the DPIRD’s continuing starling management program.

Start the conversation

Be among the first to get all the Public Sector and Defence news and views that matter.

Subscribe now and receive the latest news, delivered free to your inbox.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.