Spring Recording Contest

By Macaulay Library Team
Indigo Bunting Passerina cyanea © Daniel Jauvin ML 50402361

Louisiana Waterthrush Parkesia motacilla © Larry Therrien ML 27258751

This event has ended, but stay tuned for future contests. Congratulations to our winners for this time, Lynden Schofield, David Eberly, and Josh Fecteau!

Now that spring is well upon us here in the Northern Hemisphere, bird song fills the air! Why let it go undocumented? As a way to encourage everyone out there to go out and make audio recordings, we are offering our first recording upload challenge!

Upload at least 15 qualifying audio recordings to eBird checklists from April 21 to May 7, 2017 and get a chance to win a free download of the Cornell Guide to Bird Sounds: Master Set! Individuals who qualify will be entered into a pool from which 3 winners will be drawn at random at the end of the time period.

Recordings do not need to have been made during this period, but they must not have been previously uploaded and must have been recorded by you.

In order to qualify, recordings should adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Recorded and uploaded as .WAV
  • Recording-specific metadata added
  • Edited following archival standards
Recorded and Uploaded as .WAV

Recordings should be recorded and uploaded as uncompressed .WAV files. While not required, we encourage recordists to use a sampling rate of at least 48 kHz and a bit depth of 24 bits if your recording device allows it. Smartphone users can still participate, but we highly recommend downloading an app that allows high-resolution file recording and manual gain control. Check out more smartphone tips.

Although there is no minimum run time for qualifying recordings, recordings over 30 seconds are encouraged! Recordings up to 250MB in size can be uploaded.

Recording-Specific Metadata Added

Metadata should be added to each recording, including:

  • Sound type (song, call, non-vocal), if known
  • Age and sex, including “Unknown” if applicable
  • Whether or not playback was used
  • Equipment used


Edited Following Archival Standards

Qualifying recordings should be edited according to the archival standards set out in the editing and upload page, which also has information on editing programs and tips for editing sound files. In particular, uploaded recordings should:

  • Be trimmed, removing any prominent handling noise at the beginning and end and leaving no more than 3 seconds before the first vocalization and after the last.
  • Have peak level adjusted to -3dB.
  • Have multiple segments or files of the same individual combined into the same uploaded file, each segment level adjusted and separated by 1 second of silence.


Broad-winged Hawk Buteo platypterus © Jay McGowan ML 30683521

If you have any questions about the rules of the contest, please feel free to contact us at macaulaylibrary@cornell.edu with the subject “Recording Contest”. Good luck and happy recording!