Gamification means not only fun, but helps birdwatchers to be a bird-song singing hero starting from square one, so as to imitate the sounds, melodies and pitches in a visualised and auditory way.
I met friend, a forestry guy (he was yet a forester) in my school and we went on an excursion to the Black Forest in south Germany years ago. I remember vividly that he blew everyone away by imitating the bird songs we heard on the way and recognising which species they belonged to. I was thinking, is this possible? And I asked him how he was able to do this. “Well, I love nature and used to listen to bird song CDs when I was a kid.” Is it that simple?
An online game called Bird Song Hero created by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology lets people learn music (yeah, to teach you how to recognise 50 bird songs) in a really special way – via spectrogram visualisation. Using this technique, users learn to pick out the unique sounds that each species makes and encourages people to get involved in amateur birdwatching.
As an admirer of my bird song hero friend, I eagerly tried out this online game. I would say this is very cool in that it turns sounds, loudness and pitches into “pictures” that catch your attention by stimulating some parts of your brain with sounds and symbols, in a way to help us connect sounds with our memory. Although I am not familiar with the names of bird species, the mechanism of this game is simple and easy to follow. Within 10 minutes, I could yield most scores and correctly match the picture of over a dozen of birds with their common names, the way they sing and their respective spectrogram, which is unique for each bird, just like our ID card.
Check out this introduction video and know how it works, it’s fun!