Proposal: Bioacoustics

I know I've had some internal discussions with colleagues with supporters of this proposal about this, but I thought I'd open it up to larger discussion here (and since we have more questions coming in this one might get a bit buried). What do people think about questions like:

What is this animal sound I hear in my backyard in evenings in San Diego, CA, in spring (*link in soundcloud, no spectrogram)? asked by @Shannon here


My chicken makes a purring sound. Is this normal? asked by @Pralle here

I'm thinking of questions that may not be asked by bioacoustic scientists, but perhaps instead by people just generally interested in animal sounds and communication.

Do folks think this is ON or OFF topic for the Bioacoustics Stack Exchange Proposal?

I really like these questions (but I like lots of questions!) and am all out of votes :)

  • 5
    I think there are a number of reasons to accept these types of questions as ON TOPIC. Inclusivity >> Exclusivity, questions are related to animal bioacoustics, we hope to have the right people on our site to answer, and we all could stand to learn from these questions! In fact... it is hard for me to think of a reason to NOT include them (we can have expectations of the minimum content-- such as they should post the sound on a website!).
    – Shannon
    Mar 3, 2022 at 23:14

2 Answers 2


Agree on including such questions. In the 'simplest' case, the answer could have an online repository that points to other such recordings or similar sounds (XenoCanto, etc.) - and in other cases, it might actually open up a reference to the primary literature!

From a user perspective though, as the question bank grows it might get a bit hard to search for answers if most of the questions are structured 'what is this sound I recorded in X location and Y time?' - maybe need to think of guidelines to make questions unique and distinguishable somehow. The possibility is that similar/same sound queries may get reposted with slightly different structure. This is not to say we shouldn't have such questions. Perhaps the concern is actually rather fictitious, and based on an assumed major influx of such questions :P - which may not even happen!

  • 5
    Is this something we could think of a tag for? "Mystery sounds" or "sound ID" or something like that might work.
    – selene
    Mar 7, 2022 at 4:09
  • 1
    I agree on the inclusion. I'd add that it might generate interesting data in terms of more unusual sounds or species. A tag would be great and something like "sound ID" as Selene suggests would get my vote.
    – Wolfen77
    Mar 15, 2022 at 9:25
  • 1
    I agree and advocate for this inclusion. Our group often comes across unknown sounds and it would be really useful to be able to ask the community for insight.
    – Genevieve
    Mar 18, 2022 at 14:56
  • Speaking from experience with other sites, it's actually trivial to find duplicates once you have answers. Search for something like '[sound-identification] is:a cow'. As for titles, you'll just have to resort to onomatopoeia :p
    – Laurel
    May 3, 2022 at 12:46

Interesting idea. But is stack exchange capable of having audio files uploaded? Or would a link to another site be required?


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .