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Warblr

A phone app that uses QMUL research to allow the public to identify birds by their song while also gathering data for a citizen science initiative to map geolocated bird sounds.

Warblr App
  • School/Institute/Department: School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science, Faculty of Science and Engineering
  • Subjects: Ornithology, Citizen Science, Smart Apps
  • Audience: Bird Watchers, General Public, Researchers

Warblr is a phone app that uses QMUL research and contemporary technologies to identify birds by their song, using their smart devices in a similar process to the popular Shazam music identification tool.

The app records birdsong and returns a geotagged result to the user identifying the likely source of the sound. Data and audio recordings are collected each time the app is used and later released under an open data licence to improve research in both machine learning and bird conservation.

Launched in August 2015 the app had been downloaded thousands of times and collected over 11,000 bird sound recordings by the end of that year. It aims to increase interest in ornithology and people’s natural surroundings by providing a tool to engage with birdsong and identify these, while acting as a method of citizen science, feeding the information back to researchers.

In the development of the app the Warblr team worked with birders and bird organisations, including the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), who contributed data and feedback during the beta testing stages. The team have also received support from institutions including the RSA, RSPB, BTO, Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, Greater London National Park and Fauna and Flora International.

Since its launch the app has generated press coverage in major outlets including newspapers such as The Telegraph, The Times, The Guardian, The Metro and The Daily Mail, and news outlets including the BBC and Sky News.

For more information on the app you can visit their website here.

Warblr received the Involve Award at the Engagement and Enterprise Awards in 2015 for activity where the public can contribute their knowledge, expertise or time to research.

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