Do all tits look the same to you? AI to the rescue!

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Do all tits look the same to you? AI to the rescue!

Nifty new method is set to revolutionise the study of birds

Helen Swingler

Birds of a feather may flock together, but a lack of distinctive colour markings makes it hard to identify individuals. This limits the number of wild birds that can be studied in a given population, hampering conservation efforts.

However, a new artificial intelligence (AI) tool is changing that.

Using AI, biologists can now train computers to recognise individuals by their feather formations, even though they look identical to the human eye. This research (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/07/200727114745.htm), conducted by scholars from the University of Cape Town (UCT), the French National Centre for Scientific Research, the Research Centre in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources and other institutes from Portugal, and the Max Planck Society from Germany, has been published by the British Ecological Society’s Methods in Ecology and Evolution. It is the first successful attempt to do this in birds...

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