Have you ever been relaxing in a garden and wondered what bird is making that lovely song or what sort of feathered creature is squawking like a laser gun? Either way, this Raspberry Pi project will answer that question for you! Jumpin_jon, as they’re known over at Reddit, is using a Raspberry Pi to listen to bird calls and even recognize what bird it is using an open-source tool called BirdNET-Pi.
BirdNET-Pi is a tool designed to run on the Raspberry Pi that uses TFLite to process audio input and listen to bird calls. It was put together by Patrick McGuire, who forked the project from Stefan Kah’s BirdNET-Lite. BirdNET-Pi is optimized for the Raspberry Pi and can run on the Raspberry Pi 4B, Raspberry Pi 400, Raspberry Pi 3B, and even the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W.
The system works by listening to bird calls using a USB microphone. The audio input is parsed through BirdNET-Pi and processed to identify what bird was likely making the sound. According to the GitHub page, BirdNET-Pi can identify hundreds of birds from different countries around the world.
Setting up this project doesn’t require much hardware; you mostly need a compatible Pi and a microphone. In this case, Jumpin_jon uses a Raspberry Pi 4 B 4GB model, but older and smaller Pis will work in its stead. Jumpin_jon used a quality mic setup and implemented an Agptek Lavalier omnidirectional mic that connects via 3.5mm using a USB adapter with the Pi.
The official BirdNET-Pi GitHub page has many details about the application, including various features you can use, like real-time effects and more. The dev recommends using the 64-bit Raspberry Pi OS Lite version—specifically Bullseye. Even though you can use other Pis, you will likely see the best performance from a Pi 4 with plenty of RAM.
If you want to make this Raspberry Pi project at home, check out the original thread shared to Reddit by Jumpin_jon and dig into the GitHub for BirdNET-Pi to get a closer look at how this system operates.