Tag Archives: National Science Week

Can you find the owls in the night? Researchers recruiting Hoot Detectives

Nationwide project aims to map Australia’s favourite predator birds

A Barking owl fluffing its feathers, or ‘floofing’. Credit: Dr Nick Hamilton

“I heard the owl scream and the crickets cry.” Macbeth, William Shakespeare.

Is that an owl hooting? Or a car?

Researchers are after volunteers to help map five native Australian owl species, by listening to short recordings made in the bush. 

The results will provide important information about the range and numbers of these beloved birds of prey. They will also help researchers develop artificial intelligence (AI) systems to use in a new field of science, known as “eco-acoustics”.

The project is called Hoot Detective, and is produced by ABC Science in collaboration with the Australian Acoustic Observatory (A2O) for National Science Week. It will commence online on Monday 9 August at www.hootdetective.net.au and run until the end of August.

The idea is to hunt for Powerful, Barking, Boobook, Barn, and Masked owls. For more about each species, visit hootdetective.net.au/the-owls.

Continue reading Can you find the owls in the night? Researchers recruiting Hoot Detectives

Searching for insight? Maybe get into nature

Early results from Australia-wide experiment suggest being outdoors can be a good way to trigger “aha” moments.

People are most likely to have a sudden bright idea when out in the bush – or lying in bed.

That’s one of the early observations arising from The Aha! Challenge, the month-long Australia-wide science experiment that kicked off during National Science Week and runs until the end of August.

The experiment, which revolves around a series of online brainteasers, aims to explore sudden bursts of clarity and insight, and their role in problem-solving. In effect, it’s a nationwide quest to find the things that make you go “aha!

And so far the results have been very revealing.

Continue reading Searching for insight? Maybe get into nature