Field Deployment Best Practices


This article will cover the steps to follow while deploying AudioMoth recorders at your research sites.

 ⚠ Handle recorders carefully⚠

1. Use the RFCx Companion app to deploy the AudioMoth. A complete tutorial on using the Companion app can be found here.

2. Up to 5 photos can be added to each site to help you find your device later.

3. Insert the AudioMoth device, battery pack, and silica gel packet into the plastic case. Make sure that the plastic case is completely sealed.

4. Select a tree branch that's about a meter and a half off the ground. Make sure that no leaves are touching the recorder. Fasten the recorder to the branch using clothes pins or another fastener. Kindly make sure that the black plastic part of the case is facing down (as demonstrated in the picture below), in order to avoid water getting into the case. 

5. Always make sure that the microphone is facing out, and is unobstructed by the battery.

6. Be careful when inserting the AudioMoth in the case and attaching it to the tree/shrub/vine. After the case has been hung, ensure that the microSD is still fully inserted into the AudioMoth; if the card is bumped/depressed during installation it can eject from the recorder, preventing data from being collected.

7. It is advised to place the AudioMoth in an area with some shade or canopy to block direct sunlight, in order to avoid overheating of the batteries.

8. If possible, deploy recorders 50-100 meters away from roads or any other source of noise unless you have a specific question/goal associated with the impact of noise on biodiversity

9. Check that the RED light is NOT SOLID.

⚠ Lights: if red and green light up simultaneously, the device will need another sync with the Companion App. 

The lights can attract unwanted attention to the recorder, alerting both humans and animals to its location and also attract insects. Use black tape to hide the lights when next to trails and urbanization, or when tampering may be a concern. You may also paint the bag with a light coat of paint in order to camouflage the kit.

10. As a backup, we recommend noting the GPS coordinates (with < 10 meters of error) of the tree in which the recorder was placed.

11. The optimum distance between each AudioMoth: The science team typically recommends 400 m or greater when possible, having 200 m as the absolute minimum. As well as a height of 1 meter to 2 meters above the ground.

12. Flag a tree near where you placed the AudioMoth device to help you during the retrieval process. Make sure to always follow a consistent methodology (e.g. always place the flag 10 m north of the AudioMoth). We do not recommend flagging the actual location of the AudioMoth because it can attract people who may tamper with or destroy the device. 

13. As you leave the deployment site you may see other helpful markers near the trail that will help you locate the device later - feel free to add those photos using the Companion app.

Retrieval Steps:

1.Turn the recorder off, place it back in the plastic case, and store it securely.

2. On your computer, create a folder for each AudioMoth recorder.

3. Transfer the recordings from each recorder to their corresponding folder. 

4. Upload the recordings using the RFCx Uploader.

5. Delete recordings from SD cards ONLY after they've been transferred to a computer or hard drive, and uploaded to Arbimon

6. After deleting files from the MicroSD Cards, check the folder to make sure all the files have actually been deleted. If the recordings are still there, it may be necessary to reformat the microSD cards.

Note: If you had issues with successfully deleting files from the SD card, you can use an SD Card Formatter. This feature is also often available on your computer already without downloading any special software by right-clicking on the folder and selecting "format". After formatting the SD card, make sure that all the recordings were eliminated by opening the folder. The reformatting process can damage the microSD cards, even when the SD Card Formatter says: "formatting was successfully completed" so it's best to rely on the file deletion process instead.