Statistical Classification of Black-Capped (Poecile Atricapillus) and Mountain Chickadee (Poecile Gambeli) Call Notes

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Abstract

Both black-capped (Poecile atricapillus) and mountain chickadees (Poecile gambeli) produce a chick-a-dee call that consists of several distinct note types. In some regions, these 2 species live sympatrically, and it has been shown that 1 species will respond weakly to songs of the other. This suggests that chickadee song, and potentially other of their vocalizations, contains species-specific information. We tested the possibility that call notes were acoustically sufficient for species identification. Black-capped and mountain non-D notes were summarized as a set of 9 features and then analyzed by linear discriminant analysis. Linear discriminant analysis was able to use these notes to identify species with 100% accuracy. We repeated this approach, but with black-capped and mountain D notes that were summarized as a set of 4 features. Linear discriminant analysis was able to use these notes to identify species with 94% accuracy. This demonstrates that any of the note types in these chickadee calls possesses sufficient information for species classification.

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