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A Bluetooth bluebird in my pocket

November 03, 2016  •  5 Comments

When I purchased my Windows smartphone a couple of years ago, Telstra gave me a free Bluetooth external speaker as a bonus. I wondered, 'What use will that be to me?' I prefer to listen to music and radio through earbuds.

Last week I hatched a plan: 'Play bird song through it while I'm out photographing. Maybe it will attract and keep birds within range of my lens for longer.' I had some video of a superb fairy-wren captured in the dune at Lighthouse Beach a couple of weeks ago. Editing it in Adobe Audition, I removed the sound of the surf and other background noise to produce a purer recording of the birdsong. Converted to an MP3 file it now resides on my smartphone along with kookaburras, magpies, black cockatoos and butcherbirds.

This morning I put the plan into action. It worked! As I walked along the foredune I came within range of four fairy-wren territories, and on each occasion the residents came closer and stayed longer, puzzled by the sound of the interloper with the tripod. With the birdsong playing through the Bluetooth speaker in my pocket, I captured many frames of the birds at closer range than I've done before. They came within three metres of me.

I have formed a view that female superb fairy-wrens are like the lionesses in a pride; they seem to do most of the work...when it comes to vocalising. The males hang around looking cool in their blue suede headpieces and calling occasionally. On the other hand, the little ladies are more committed to song and marking their territory with sound.

Team of twoTeam of twoA pair of superb fairy-wrens (<em>Malurus cyaneus</em>) attracted by fairy-wren song played on my smartphone through a Bluetooth connected external speaker. Worked well.


Just as the bird sings or the butterfly soars, because it is his natural characteristic, so the artist works. — Alma Gluck


Comments

wowfactorpix
Thank you Mick, Giang, Donna, and Peter.

Giang, I hasten to add that the idea of playing birdsong to improve my chances of seeing/photographing is not mine. Birders have been doing it for years. I'm not sure that wallaby vocalisations are frequent or viable to record. You may have to rely on serendipity.

Peter, "You always see and present simple things from a different and visually favourable perspective". Thank you for one of the best compliments a photographer can receive.

I have the Simpson & Day field guide on my tablet computer and it has bird calls installed. I do, however, prefer to use my own recordings because I can edit for better quality and also make longer sound files with periods of silence between the calls. Such are less taxing on the ears when one is out for an hour or two! ®
Peter Fleming(non-registered)
Cool trick, Rob, and a fantastic (and unusual aspect) paired image. You always see and present simple things from a different and visually favourable perspective.
In hindsight, it was a simple solution that was so bleeding obvious, why didn't you think of it before?
You might be able to play the sounds from Morcombe and Stewart's, Australian Birds Phone App through your bluetooth, too. I'll have to try it when I get a new smartphone!
Regards
Peter
Donna Baldwin(non-registered)
Beautiful image, Rob
Giang Duong(non-registered)
Exquisite image, Rob! I have resigned to sit and enjoy the birds, rather than making photographs of them. Today, I have learned yet another new thing from you. Thank you! Maybe I have to record the grunting of male wallabies to attract my "mob" on my "turf" to take more shots of them. They have not spent time at our place this week, although the grass is lush green!
Sheppo(non-registered)
Love this Rob!
Birds are cool.
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