Device helps grey nomad ‘twitchers’ identify birds on the cheep

For many grey nomads, one of the great joys of taking the Big Lap is seeing – and learning more about – some of the unique birds that populate the length and breadth of this wonderfully varied country.

However, travellers often struggle to put a name to a feathered face. Even those who have their binoculars and identification book to hand aren’t always quick enough thumb through the pages before the bird has flown.

Happily, help is at hand. US company, Scribe Labs, has just unveiled an AI-powered portable device that can accurately and speedily identify more than 6,000 bird species from around the world.

The BirdWeather PUC (Portable Universe Codec) is a smart bird listening machine that has already had more than 170 million detections, and built up a living library of bird vocalisations.

The portable nature recorder which comes in a rugged weatherproof enclosure, features dual microphones, environmental sensors, a microSD card, a built-in neural engine, and is Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS enabled.

Its mobile app and web dashboard work hand-in-hand with the device, enabling users to quickly learn more about the birds they encounter, and listen to birds from around the world.

The device can be carried on a backpack when on a bushwalk. PIC: Scribe Labs

Scribe Labs founder and CEO, Tim Clark, said the possibilities were endless.

“With the BirdWeather PUC, we’ve removed the complexity and created a simple, easy-to-use (one-button) AI-powered portable device that is equally at home in your backyard, out in the field, or tagging along on a hike, continuously listening and automatically identifying over 6000 global species,” he said. “Why sound? For every bird you can see, there are dozens more you can hear … from owls to osprey, not every bird is interested in sticking around to have their photo taken.”

The company says the response from the birding community to the new device has been incredible, with users saying it has given them previously hidden insights into birdlife, and enabled them to gain a deeper connection to the natural world.

The BirdWeather PUC is currently available for US$199 on Kickstarter. Delivery is expected to begin in December.

  • Do you think this device would help enrich your travels? Email us here to share your thoughts.

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