Red-Winged Blackbird © Shauna Fletcher

Hamilton Bioacoustics Research Project

Started in 2018, this initiative of the Hamilton Naturalists’ Club involves both collecting and analyzing acoustic data from its sanctuaries and other sites around the Hamilton Study Area, and using acoustics tools to attract Ontario bird species-at-risk to suitable breeding habitats.

Field Recorder Surveys

All year-round we have Automated Recording Units (ARUs) placed in the HNC’s Sanctuaries or other partner project sites. Some of these are done as part of a coordinated survey, while others are to make use of the devices during off-peak times to see what we might discover.

All our recordings are uploaded to our page on

Help Needed

We need people with experience identifying species by ear to review the recordings. If you’d like to help, follow this link for detailed instructions.

Eastern Meadowlark & Bobolink Bioacoustic Project

Working with Dr. Jim Quinn of McMaster University, this project involves using pre-recorded birdsong to attract tallgrass prairie species to McMaster Forest.

Each spring, a solar-powered speaker setup is installed, and plays songs and calls of a target species.

The HNC has recently provided some funding for programmable mini-computers to help better target the desired species with the song and call playback.

Soon we will add documentation about how this is accomplished, for those who might want to undertake similar initiatives.

Example Survey: Winter Owls Survey

Survey period: December 1, 2018 through February 28, 2019.

This survey is listened for owl species at the following sites:

  • Cartwright Nature Sanctuary
  • Anita Dutka-Buchin Nature Sanctuary
  • McMaster Forest
  • Spooky Hollow Nature Sanctuary
  • Amaolo Nature Sanctuary
  • Vinemount Nature Sanctuary
  • Grimsby Wetlands
  • Short Hills Nature Sanctuary
  • Hayesland Swamp Nature Sanctuary
Example Survey: Sheelah Dunn Dooley Nature Sanctuary Breeding Birds Survey

Survey period: June 1, 2019 through June 15, 2020.

This survey used our newly acquired AudioMoth devices, programmed to record dawnsong (5:00am to 7:00am) for at least two days of good weather at each ARU deployment location. Devices were moved regularly to gain full coverage of the site over the course of two weeks.

Example Survey: Long Listen at McMaster Forest

Survey period: March through June each year

For this survey we used a Cornell Swift ARU, recording around the clock from early March to June at a specific point within the McMaster Forest property.