Migration: recording bird sounds at night
As the true migration season kicks while most of us are locked down at home, there's a new way to keep track of the mysteries of wild bird movements: detecting the sounds of night migrants. This has grown in popularity in recent years and is enhanced exponentially by the availability of relatively affordable recording equipment. Bird calls can be recorded as they pass over your house and the resulting sound files analysed afterwards to identify the species which have passed over while you slept. Among the surprises that keen birders have discovered is a regular early spring passage of Common Scoter overland and far more Ortolan Buntings passing through Britain than were ever known about during visible daytime migration.
I wrote about this phenomenon and the pioneering work of the likes of Magnus Robb in Birdwatch in September 2017. Find out how you can record and identify these transient sounds and make your own discoveries below.