How the Acoustic Pipeline works

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From backyard sound projects to commercial bat surveys, the BTO Acoustic Pipeline provides tools for the detection and identification of birds, bats and other wildlife in audible and ultrasonic sound recordings.

1. Deploy your recorder(s)

Supported by our guides to using common recorder and detector models.

2. Detect and identify species

With our bespoke easy-to-use software and machine-learning algorithms.

3. Audit and report results

With our desktop and web-based data management and visualisation tools.

4. Share your recordings

To help us improve the Pipeline's next generation of ultrasonic and audible classifiers.

Free, comprehensive support from start to finish

Our Acoustic Pipeline Support Hub is available for free before you even begin recording. It provides a range of guides and advice to ensure a smooth and easy end-to-end workflow for acoustic monitoring.

You can contact our in-house experts Dr Simon Gillings and Dr Stuart Newson by email too.

Detect and identify species

Identification using desktop and cloud processing power

The Acoustic Pipeline uses a small desktop programme and a secure website to store and analyse wildlife audio files.


Process recordings with classifiers for ultrasonic and audible sound

Ultrasonic recordings

Ultrasonic recordings are uploaded to our powerful cloud computing platform. Our superior algorithms can identify:

  • All UK and most European bat species, including echolocation, feeding buzzes and social calls not covered by other software solutions. 
  • Over 15 terrestrial small mammals that are sometimes misidentified as bats by other software.
  • Many bush-crickets and moths.

Learn more about the Pipeline’s ultrasonic classifiers >

Coming soon: audible sound recordings

Audible recordings are largely processed in the desktop programme. We offer bespoke classifiers for several key bird species and groups including:

  • European Nightjar, detecting churring and gro-ek calls.
  • European nocturnal breeding birds, including owls, nightjars, crakes and Woodcock.
  • European nocturnal migrants, including crakes and rails, waterfowl and waders, and passerines.

Learn more about the Pipeline’s audible classifiers >

Audit and report your results

Data management

Once our identification algorithms have completed analysing your recordings, all potential identifications are stored in the secure Acoustic Pipeline web application where you can see, interrogate and download your results.

A range of visualisations provide data insights for acoustic monitoring projects.

  • Drop us a line if you’d like to find out more about the Pipeline’s data management capabilities.

Acoustic Pipeline related products

BTO offers several products and services that work alongside the Acoustic Pipeline, some of which are free of charge. These products provide an end-to-end workflow for acoustic monitoring, including tools to assist with data management, clip verification and running citizen science projects.

Learn more about Acoustic Pipeline related products >

Sharing your recordings and results 

Your recordings and results are always stored safely in our secure servers, and are shared only with the Pipeline or our approved third parties for the purposes of verification, processing and further analysis. You can choose to opt out of sharing your recordings and results. 

We will never provide your personal details to third parties without your permission.

The value of sharing your recordings and results 

Sharing your recordings and results with the Pipeline helps us to:

  • Improve the future performance of our ultrasonic and audible classifiers.
  • Verify the automated species identities produced by the acoustic monitoring algorithms.

Opting out

It is possible to use the Pipeline to process acoustic data without sharing your results and recordings with us, or our approved third parties. However, we need to levy a service charge for that because it helps keep the overall running costs down and therefore affordable for conservation uses, especially in the NGO sector.

For more details, see our Terms and Conditions.

Get in touch

Email us

Questions? We’d love to hear from you.

You can reach us at
acoustic.pipeline [at] bto.org

The scientists behind the Pipeline

Meet our in-house experts.



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