Yeh, a flying-fox camp is certainly a spectacle. They are fascinating but
very frustrating animals to study. Interestingly, all four Australian
species seem to speak similar but different 'languages' - no one really
knows just how much they understand each other.
The whole field of flying fox vocalisations has been largely neglected -
there's been one study done in 1964, and one smaller one in 2000, and that'=
pretty much it. And now I'm trying to look at it myself I can kind of see
why - it's really rather difficult.
The animal's social behaviour is quite complex, and their vocalisations eve=
more so. I suspect it's going to keep me very busy for quite a while yet!
Each call certainly has a meaning, but in many cases it also seems to be
modified by specific circumstances. I'm starting to come to the conclusion
that a lot of what we accept as conventional wisdom with regard to these
animal's vocal communications is an oversimplification at best.
Of course, I may yet be totally wrong! Early days yet.
As well as recording audio I'm also getting video; this along with
observations gives me a context for the calls. It's turning out to be way
more complex than I and many other people realised - there's a world of
difference between casually listening to animals vocalising, and
systematically analysing it.
On Behalf Of vickipowys
Sent: Sunday, 12 June 2011 9:16 AM
Subject: Re: [Nature Recordists] Introduction...
Your flying fox research sounds fascinating. Back in February 2009 I
had a camp on my property with perhaps 10,000 Little Red Flying Foxes
roosting along Coco Creek in Capertee Valley, NSW (about 3 hours west
of Sydney). I had never seen them close up before, and it was soon
obvious that they had many different sorts of calls - they were very
vocal at the daytime camp. I was told each call had a meaning, and
that there was a language going on here.
I recorded some of their calls with gun mic and stereo pairs of mics,
but did not get as far as figuring out who was saying what, and why.
The predawn contact calls were interesting too, as the mob flew over
my house, heading back to their roost at the creek. In the evenings
when they flew away from the roost they were quite silent, no calls
I imagine that using a reflector will give you best results for
individual vocalizations, although they roost so close together it
will be hard to isolate just one flying fox. Maybe you would have to
memorize some of the different calls then just watch through
binoculars and see how the calls are being used?
Please do let us know what you find out with your research!
(Sound Editor, Australian Wildlife Sound Recording Group).
On 11/06/2011, at 1:43 PM, Tim wrote:
> Hi everyone,
> I've been spending a lot of time getting information by searching
> the archives, and thought it was about time I joined the group - so
> may I
> introduce myself?
> I'm based in Sydney, Australia, and am currently doing an Honours
> year looking at flying-fox vocal communications.
> I've played casually with audio recordings of wildlife before, but
> what I'm
> doing now is at a totally different level. Basically, I'm trying to
> good recordings of the individual vocalisations of flying-foxes,
> with the
> aim of analysing them and relating the vocalisations to behavioural
> and also ascertaining if urban noise has any effect - it's been
> shown to
> effect birdsong, but nothing is known about possible effects on
> vocalisations as they become more urban.
> As flying-foxes roost communally, and are very social and vocal,
> I'm using a
> parabola (Telinga Universal with Sennheiser ME62) to abstract the
> calls from the background cacophony. I'm also getting soundscapes
> of the
> flying-fox camps at various times of the day, using a pair of
> ME64's in an ORTF array. I'm recording on a Fostex FR2-LE, and
> using Audacity and Raven.
> Like a lot of endeavours, I'm learning very quickly that doing a
> basic job
> is not hard - getting good results is a very different story
> indeed! So I
> may be asking some odd questions of the list.
> Tim Pearson