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Warbler Quiz Game (try to beat my highscore!)


Hasan
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Hi all,

As I'm sure you all know, one of the most important indicators of a well-rounded birder is their ability to bird by ear. In an effort to increase my knowledge, I wanted to master my eastern warbler songs this year. However, I was unable to find a free training course which matched my needs. So.... I built one! Basically, this game pulls several thousand audio clips from the Macaulay library and quizzes you on them, meaning that no two clips will ever be the same.

Here's how to play:

Go to http://benguofilms.com/quiz.php, and enter a nickname. No other info is required to sign up and start! Then, just type in what you hear- don't worry about capitalization, hyphens, or spaces. Spelling is important though! (So for example bluewingedwarbler is valid, and so is Blue-winged Warbler). There's a skip button that you can use, though how I like to play I only skip if it's a 'chip' note (almost impossible to identify), if the bird is named in the audio (sometimes people say what the birds are) or if there are two obviously identifiable species and it's not clear which one the observer might be trying to record. Do a few practice runs and you can click 'reset progress' to reset your stats.

I'll warn you that this is an incredibly difficult quiz- because the samples are sourced directly from ebird, there is a huge variety in songs which birds often sing. Some of the most variable include Northern Parula, Hooded Warbler, Yellow Warbler, and Blackburnian Warbler. Also, the quality isn't always the best, but I think this makes the experience much more realistic. Some of the birds I really struggle to differentiate and could use help figuring out are Bay-breasted vs Cape May, Yellow vs Chestnut-sided, and Palm vs pretty much everything.

My current score which is viewable on the leaderboard (though this will likely change) is 86%, though I think my true rating is probably somewhere from the high 70s to the low 80s. I'd love to see someone on here beat it- I'm sure it can be done.

For those who are more beginners in the birding by ear space, I'm already working on building out a full-fledged training course. I also have plans to expand this game to have empid quizzes, vireos, thrushes, etc., as well as several devoted to more west-coast species. However, I'm the only one developing this and I have limited time so it may take a little while.

Edited by Hasan
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3 minutes ago, Connor Cochrane said:

This is really cool. I tried it out and it seems fun. Unfortunately I’m horrible at this as I really only know west coast species. 

Thanks for the feedback! Don't feel bad- even for me, an Eastern birder, it took a lot of practice to get where I'm at now. Stay tuned for my western quizzes.

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What do we do if we found one that's wrong? 😅

3 minutes ago, The Bird Nuts said:

Nice job @Hasan and @Avery!  I couldn't get better than 68%.  I enjoyed this even though I was struggling a bit!

Thanks! For whatever reason I keep getting really weird songs of yellowthroats and yellow warbler, so they are both at 0% I am totally going to use this and future sites a ton!!!

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I tried 100 times and ended up getting 41/100. I do think I learned a few songs with this though, so it was helpful.

One thing that would be interesting would be to add frequent incorrect guesses. For example, you could look up a species, say Yellow Warbler, and it would show species with percentages that other people guessed incorrectly, such as American Redstart - 15%. I didn't explain this well, just an idea.

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1 minute ago, Avery said:

What do we do if we found one that's wrong? 😅

Thanks! For whatever reason I keep getting really weird songs of yellowthroats and yellow warbler, so they are both at 0% I am totally going to use this and future sites a ton!!!

That's funny, I got no Yellow Warblers!  And lots from down south that I've never heard...

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Just now, The Bird Nuts said:

That's funny, I got no Yellow Warblers!  And lots from down south that I've never heard...

yeah. i had a ton of trouble with prothonotary warbler, orange-crowned/worm-eating, and i could never get bay-breasted right

 

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Very impressive!  I set the low bar by continuing till I got one (Blackburnian, a bird I've seen once and never heard).

Obviously should have done more birding when I was going to grad school in Urbana.  I'm confident that I could get over 50% if you did one for Birds of Southeastern Rio Arriba County, New Mexico.

One suggestion: Something like "Your ID" seems more positive than "Guess".  OK, two suggestions: What about having an option to require exact matches, for anybody who wants to work on their hyphens, spaces, and capital letter?  Amongst our many suggestions, you could have a button for people who believe the species is misidentified, possibly alerting you so you can remove it from the database if you agree that it's wrong and are willing to do that work, and possibly giving a link to report it to Cornell if that's feasible.

Also, I like @Avery's suggestion of showing the ID for anything the user skipped.

Edited by Jerry Friedman
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11 minutes ago, Connor Cochrane said:

I know. I found a couple mis ID'd ones.

There are a small number of mis-ided birds here, though it's actually pretty common to get birds that sing other birds' songs. For example, Golden-winged Warblers often sing Blue-winged-ish songs, and vice versa. Black-throated Blue or Parula can sing Cerulean-ish songs. Blackburnian or Cape May can sing Bay-breasted-ish songs.

I might add a flag tool, but not sure yet. Without photos of the bird, it's hard to say for sure that a bird is mis-IDed, as opposed to simply singing a weird variant song.

I may also add a tolerance to allow for slight misspellings.

15 minutes ago, Avery said:

yeah. i had a ton of trouble with prothonotary warbler, orange-crowned/worm-eating, and i could never get bay-breasted right

 

Prothonotary to me is really distinctive- it invariably has a sweet, clear "sweet sweet sweet".  Worm-eating is the only one that has a long, very dry, very fast trill. Orange-crowned usually goes up or down slightly in pitch at the end. Bay-breasted- well yeah, that's really tough. It tends to on average have a more complex song that Cape May but lacking the rattle notes that Blackburnian has.

@Jerry Friedman Urbana Illinois? I'm in Bloomington (unfortunately), the next town over!

 

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1 hour ago, Hasan said:

...

@Jerry Friedman Urbana Illinois? I'm in Bloomington (unfortunately), the next town over!

 

Yes, though in an embarrassing number of years in grad school, I never went to Bloomington (or Normal).  Which I guess is like spending the same number of years in Champaign-Urbana and still not having American Golden-Plover on my life list.

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After 205 guesses, I'm at 79% which feels pretty accurate to my skill level. I tend to hover around the 78-81ish range. It's interesting that some species, like Palm Warbler and Yellow-rumped Warbler seem difficult for both me and Bird Nuts, where others that I struggled with like Yellow/Chestnut-sided Warbler Bird Nuts got perfectly.

Also congrats to Avery for climbing those leaderboards. They're getting real close to me.

 1011393477_ScreenShot2021-03-14at3_10_00PM.thumb.png.104fccd89124d8b455ea99bdaa949906.png

Edited by Hasan
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After 210 guesses. I seemed to range around the 75-78 range since about guess 100. I learned the song of Cerulean, Worm-eating, and Prothonotary (andsomewhat Kentucky) through this, refreshed my struggle with remembering between similar Nashville/Tennessee and Yellow/Chestnut-sided Warblers, and realized I cannot tell a Bay-breasted Warbler from anything. Yellow-throated Warbler was tough for me as well. 

1164854425_ScreenShot2021-03-14at4_25_47PM.thumb.png.3581f033209563cfc2acba9f07279e4b.png

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13 minutes ago, Hasan said:

where others that I struggled with like Yellow/Chestnut-sided Warbler Bird Nuts got perfectly.

 

Those two I've worked very hard on for as long as I've been birding since they breed in my yard and I hear and see them all the time in the summer.  I'm usually good with American Redstarts, too, since they are one of the most common warblers here, but I didn't get very many of them in the quiz and they were all songs I wasn't very familiar with.  Your percentages are very impressive!

7 minutes ago, Avery said:

I cannot tell a Bay-breasted Warbler from anything

That is definitely one of the hardest ones!  And Blackpoll and Cape May... :classic_wacko:

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Blackpoll is pretty easy to pick out because it's a bunch of high-pitched staccato notes, compared to the longer noted, more complex songs of Cape May, Bay-breasted, or Blackburnian. It's not too variable either.

I don't know how to describe Yellow-throated other than that to me it always sounds like it goes into slow motion as it progresses.

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hehehe...

1917697202_ScreenShot2021-03-15at9_57_18PM.thumb.png.c5736973a829fc84db9d43366e2ad6e1.png

I also had two recordings that sounded just like a CSWA, that were labeled Mourning Warbler. Still have to guess a lot on the BBWA, which brought my BAWW score down. YRWA is tough for me. I kept getting it confuses with weird YTWA songs.

 

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