Buran writes: "As a self-proclaimed geek and a relative (and fascinated!) newcomer to the world of birding, I found this article in the New York Times Science Tuesday about the search for the ivory-billed woodpecker to be rather interesting. The bird, which was listed as extinct in 1997, has not been definitively sighted since the 1950s, but a recent reported sighting (in 1999) has led to a redoubled effort to find it. The geek side is this: Since it would be impractical for a human to sift through 5,000 hours of recorded sound (two and a half years, they estmate) to listen for the bird's distinctive call, the Cornell researchers are working on algorithms that can pick out interesting sections of digitally recorded sound, taken from microphones placed throughout the study area, for a human (who can outdo a computer any day at making the final determination) to review. I am hopeful that the search will return a positive result."
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