Tuesday, October 25, 2011

WeBird - An app that will tell you what bird you're listening to...

Imagine, you are on vacation and you hear a bird that you are unfamiliar with. You pull out your smartphone, record the call and seconds later, you have the name and photo of the bird call you were hearing. This is not a distant reality according to this article below. Much like electronic playback of bird calls, this new technology will call into question more ethical implications of being able to identify a particular bird. It would be cool to say, walk into the Ojibway Nature center and have a live board publish the most recent birds that have vocalized out back near the feeders. 

The press release of this impressive software can be found here.

The interesting thing about this article is that as I was reading it, I thought about my Computer Science 4th year paper, in which I implemented a dynamic-programing algorithm for string matching fragments of DNA. This application was written in the Java programming language. Back in 2001, I also made my Yahoo email account, dwaynejava. ... Hence the name dwaynejava.

A Youtube video describing the software is shown below. A good birder knows how to bird by ear, but this will help people that are not in their region or novices to learn bird calls.

Good birding!


  1. And all this time I thought you just liked to drink coffee. Now I know how you got your moniker.

  2. Have you actually found any code for this app? I tried searching for the "WeBIRD" Algorithm and can't find a thing. If it does what they say, will they publish a paper?

    1. i'm not sure if you've already seen this, or if you're even going to see this reponse, but here's the google code website for it:
      the project's been supposedly pushed to this spring, but i haven't heard squat about it....

  3. Mat, back in the year 2000, I wrote DNA Fragment Alignment software using the "Needleman–Wunsch Algorithm" (Wikipedia has a discussion on it) which is a very efficient way for the computer to compare one pattern to another. I don't have the details on WeBird's algorithms. I don't know if this app will be open source or not, but I would bet it used the above programming concept. -DM



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