10 Jun 2010

Recording Kiwi Calls

From Our Changing World, 9:06 pm on 10 June 2010

Andrew Digby using a parabola microphone to record kiwi callsVictoria University PhD student Andrew Digby's area of research is acoustic ecology, focusing on recording and analysing the calls of little spotted kiwi.

He is looking to answer questions such as: can you recognise individual kiwi from their calls, and do different populations of kiwi have distinct dialects, and is this related to their genetic make-up.

As well as using a parabola microphone to record single calls (Left. Image: A. Ballance), he uses automatic recorders that record all night so he can work out whether the rates of calling vary according to time of night, moon phase and time of year. He also intends to set up microphone arrays, that can be used to determine distances, to work out exactly where kiwi call from within their territories.

His main field site is Zealandia, the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary in Wellington, and he is also studying other wild populations as a comparison.

Zealandia offers night tours, with the chance of hearing and seeing kiwi.