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  • Author: Sándor Zsebők x
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The bioacoustic analyses of animal sounds result in an enormous amount of digitized acoustic data, and we need effective automatic processing to extract the information content of the recordings. Our research focuses on the song of Collared Flycatcher (Ficedula albicollis) and we are interested in the evolution of acoustic signals. During the last 20 years, we obtained hundreds of hours of recordings of bird songs collected in natural environment, and there is a permanent need for the automatic process of recordings. In this study, we chose an open-source, deep-learning image detection system to (1) find the species-specific songs of the Collared Flycatcher on the recordings and (2) to detect the small, discrete elements so-called syllables within the song. For these tasks, we first transformed the acoustic data into spectrogram images, then we trained two deep-learning models separately on our manually segmented database. The resulted models detect the songs with an intersection of union higher than 0.8 and the syllables higher than 0.7. This technique anticipates an order of magnitude less human effort in the acoustic processing than the manual method used before. Thanks to the new technique, we are able to address new biological questions that need large amount of acoustic data.


Different experiences from the past may have influence on individual’s behaviour through feedback mechanisms that can weaken or preserve the within-individual consistency of behavioural traits. Here, we aimed to find evidence for such feedback mechanisms that may operate on risk-taking behaviour via the effect of former experience to potential predation events in male Collared Flycatchers (Ficedula albicollis). We predicted that risk-taking of males would decrease after experiencing a predator’s attack in previous breeding seasons (negative feedback). We assessed risk-taking by flight initiation distance (FID) that is the distance at which an individual flees from an approaching predator, which was estimated for 234 individuals from different breeding seasons. Information on predation experience (i.e. occurrence of nest predation, the incidence of capture by human observers) was available from our long-term database on individual life histories. In a horizontal approach, we found no difference in FID when comparing males with former experience to predation with males naive to predators. A longitudinal approach relying on the repeated tests of the same individuals from different years yielded analogous results, we could not show a significant change in the risk-taking behaviour of the males as a consequence of experience to predation in past years. However, we found that individuals systematically took less risk over the years, which might be a consequence of acquiring general experience with age.