Artificial intelligence key to Bristlebird recovery

22 November 2021

Experts across multiple states and regions are working on cutting edge science like ‘call recognition’ software to help the shy and elusive Eastern Bristlebird recover from the devastating Black Summer bushfires.

The state-of-the-art deep learning AI pattern recognition tool is one of eight new recovery projects that will receive funding, guided by the Morrison Government’s multiregional species coordinator.

Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said the projects will cover a range of recovery actions including the use of scientific surveys to record sightings of the birds to improve understanding of subpopulations and habitat connectivity.

“Eastern Bristlebirds are a very secretive bird but can be easily recognised by their melodic song and alarm-call, which is why we are developing new listening tools to support the identification and recovery of this endangered species,” Minister Ley said.

“By creating a tool that automatically and accurately detects the bird’s calls from remote field recordings, and updating radio-transmitter attachment methods, we will be able to track remaining and translocated populations to support their recovery in the future.

Other projects for the Eastern Bristlebird will focus on enhancing recovery through habitat restoration, and managing health and disease risks to support the establishment of a new genetically viable population in Victoria as a safety net in case of extreme weather events or the spread of disease.

“One of the key learnings from the Black Summer bushfires was a need for coordinated on-ground action, monitoring and research, across the entire range of a species, to support its recovery,” Minister Ley added.

“That is why the Australian Government’s $200 million investment in bushfire recovery for wildlife and their habitats is seeing states, territories and stakeholders continuing to work together to support the recovery of ecosystems over a year on from the devastating bushfires.

“As part of a $10 million multiregional funding initiative focused on the long-term recovery of 10 targeted species and species groups, BirdLife Australia will link up much needed recovery activities for these birds in the most fire-affected regions across New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.”

Further information about the Australian Government’s investments in bushfire recovery for wildlife and their habitats can be found here: https://www.awe.gov.au/environment/biodiversity/bushfire-recovery