Ever wondered about which birds fly over your house at night during spring or fall migration? Your curiosity for nocturnal migration could contribute to a groundbreaking Indiana Audubon initiative. This spring, we’re launching a pilot project to collect data on nocturnal flight calls, and we’re inviting you to be a part of it!

Nocturnal flight calls (NFCs) are unique vocalizations produced by certain bird families during their nighttime migratory journeys. These calls, brief and distinctive, play a crucial role in maintaining group cohesion, preventing collisions, and facilitating communication among groups of migrating birds. By studying NFCs, we gain valuable insights into bird migration patterns, species composition, and the timing of these remarkable events.

Our goal is to train 3-5 enthusiastic volunteers to record and analyze NFC recordings using AI and audio editing software. All necessary recording equipment will be provided, and training will cover the installation and use of the software. Volunteers will gain proficiency in navigating the technology and conducting analysis with support and feedback from IAS staff and fellow NFC project volunteers.


Our “Echoes of the Night Sky” data collection project will happen between March 15 and May 31, 2024. Your recordings will be part of the eBird database, contributing to our state’s bird records. We’re keeping it flexible – asking you to record just two nights per week during this period. Feel free to record on additional nights if you’re up for it!

Here’s the scoop on your tasks. They’re pretty straightforward:

  1. Record NFCs from rooftop or accessible quiet space outdoors
  2. Upload files and analyze data with AI assistance and fellow NFC recordists online
  3. Input your sightings into eBird (see an example here) and attach sound clips along the way
  4. Share your amazing sightings from right overhead with others!

Hop on over to the Nocturnal Flight Calls Facebook group for more insights.


We’re thrilled to invite enthusiasts of NFC recording from all walks of life to join this project. The project is designed with birders in mind, particularly those intrigued by citizen/community science and data collection. Some tech know-how is required, and you should be residing in Indiana during the spring project dates (March 15-May 31, 2024). Familiarity with using Python environments is a plus, and having your own computer (whether it’s a Mac or PC) is a must.

Please note that participation is open only to those with an active Indiana Audubon membership.


If you’re interested in capturing the NFC data and unravel the mysteries of bird migration, email [email protected] to express interest in being a part of this project. We’ll schedule an initial interest meeting in late January and/or early February. During this session, we’ll walk you through an overview of the project, from the recorder to the software we’ll be using.

The spring 2024 participants have been selected, but we’re seeking participants to join us in the fall.


Curious about this year’s spring migration progress through our nocturnal flight call data? Check out our eBird trip reports for March, April, and May.

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