Sound Recording Assistant

Wednesday 13 December 2017
Vacancy type:
Office and administration
Cambridge Conservation Initiative

What we're looking for

We are looking for a volunteer to help us count the number of seabird calls in sound recordings. Many seabirds are highly threatened, and for some of the most threatened species we know very little about their population sizes because they are nocturnal and nest in burrows. These birds cannot be counted visually, but they call frequently in their colony, and we have deployed automated sound recorders on many islands in the Atlantic and Mediterranean to record the vocal activity in seabird colonies. So far we lack an effective computer algorithm to process these data, and humans are vastly superior to existing computer programs in detecting, recognising and counting seabird calls. You can help us by manually counting calls or - if you have an excellent computer programming background - develop an algorithm that can process sound recordings automatically

The skills you need

Excellent hearing and good computer literacy to capture data in MS Excel. Ability to differentiate bird species by their calls is essential. Many recordings are 2 hrs long and require staying alert and being attentive to faint noises for extended periods.

Your time

One day per week
Ongoing until completed

What's in it for you?

An opportunity to contribute to the effectiveness of RSPB work, meet new people and gain knowledge. You can also learn much about the calls of several seabird species, including a storm petrel endemic to St Helena that is soon to be described as a new species! If you succeed in developing a highly accurate call recognition algorithm that could be applied to other species and islands, there is great commercial potential in such an algorithm.

How to apply


Steffen Oppel, RSPB Headquarters
Tel: 01767 680551


This role is based at the CCI offices in Cambridge. Cambridge Conservation Initiative The David Attenborough Building Pembroke Street Cambridge CB2 3QZ Appropriate training will be provided and expenses will be re-imbursed where necessary. The RSPB is the UK charity working to secure a healthy environment for birds and wildlife, helping to create a better world for all of us. We belong to BirdLife International, the global partnership of bird conservation organisations. Your time and skills could make a real difference to the work of the RSPB and it would be great if you could join us.

Reference number 8461