IC recorders used to Study Blakiston’s Fish Owl Habitat in Eastern Hokkaido in Japan

Fujitsu and Fujitsu Kyushu Network have commenced environmental CSR activities that support the Wild Bird Society of Japan’s study of Blakiston’s fish owl habitat in eastern Hokkaido in Japan. The Blakiston’s fish owl has been designated as a critically endangered species on the Japanese Ministry of the Environment’s Red List. In the central and eastern areas of Hokkaido in Japan, the existence of only 140 of the owls has been confirmed. With the objective of establishing a sanctuary to protect these owls, the Wild Bird Society of Japan has been conducting research to better understand owl habitat and numbers. Previously, approximately ten researchers were positioned in these areas from early evening for several hours to listen and confirm with their own ears the calls made by owls.

From October 2011, however, IC recorders were placed about 500 meters apart on roads in the owl’s habitat to record sounds at 284 locations in 18 geographic areas. The next day the collected audio data would be played back using commercial audio analysis software. It was up to the researchers themselves to identify any owl calls, either by a visual inspection of the audio spectrum or by listening to recordings. Utilizing a Fujitsu Group audio processing technology that recognizes human voices, Fujitsu developed a software program that takes audio data recorded in the owl’s habitat and, with high precision, is able to automatically recognize and extract the calls of the Blakiston’s fish owl. This technology will help make the study of the owl’s habitat more efficient and accurate.

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