July Recording Contest

By Macaulay Library Team
Clapper Rail Rallus crepitans © Evan Lipton ML 59645851

Lark Bunting Calamospiza melanocorys © Bill Maynard ML 49147581

This event has ended, but stay tuned for future contests. Congratulations to our winners for this time, Justin Watts, Phil Green, and Bruce Rideout!

July is an underrated month when it comes to sound recording. Quieter than May or June, it still has plenty to offer: song can still fill the air, adults call near nests or fledglings, and young birds can be heard calling, sometimes incessantly.

To encourage the documentation of some of these mid-summer sounds, we are offering another recording upload challengeUpload at least 20 qualifying audio recordings to eBird checklists from July 1 to July 31, 2017 and get a chance to win a pair of Sennheiser headphones or 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. The first winner drawn will win the grand prize, a pair of Sennheiser HD 25 headphones, perfect for monitoring your recordings in the field or listening to them at home. The second and third place winners will receive a free download of the Cornell Guide to Bird Sounds: Master Set.

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.
  • Not have extreme editing techniques like strong filters or noise reduction applied.
Brown-headed Cowbird Molothrus ater © Brooke Miller ML 39188501

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!