July 2021 Newsletter: Automatic ruru identifcation, new UI & a trap update

Kia ora,


Welcome to the July 2021 newsletter. The onset of winter hasn't slowed down the team at The Cacophony Project. We've released new software that now recognises ruru automatically from the recordings made by our bird monitor. We have a new interface for viewing recordings from our thermal camera, added  the ability to control when it records and an integration with Trap NZ.


We have a trap update from the Cacophony project. We have started a manufacturing a small run of traps and have worked out that we can make our trap significantly cheaper with enough volume. Find out how you could save $750,000.


Ngā mihi nui,

Shaun Ryan

Automatically identifying ruru/morepork

Can you help expand this to other birds?

Open source contributors have developed software that automatically identifies ruru/morepork. This runs on all recordings made by our Bird Monitor and adds tags, noting the time in the recording. This update gives some more information about how this works and finishes with a description of how you could help us automatically identify other birds.


Eventually we will run this over all the recordings we have, meaning you will be able to get a gauge of how morepork have changed in your area. This shows the importance of starting to make these recordings sooner rather than later, so you can have a record of how biodiversity is changing in your whenua.

New user interface

Includes TrapNZ integration

Late in May the Cacophony Project released new software to the portal that included

  • Improved performance on mobile devices
  • A new video player that shows the classification on the video itself and includes a bunch of other improvements.
  • Alerts when we expect the battery has gone flat. This is really useful. The blog post says we were hoping to release this and we have now done this.

Last week we made another major release to the Cacophony Portal that included

  • Changes to the way you can access your devices via groups
  • Maps showing where your devices are
  • Significantly improved visits report
  • The ability to label a track as needs reviewing - particularly helpful if you have volunteers labelling your videos.
  • Integration with TrapNZ

We've also made some improvements to the speed of processing our recordings.


There are quite a lot of improvements - I recommend checking out the blog posts. We would love your feedback on the changes including any issues you may have seen.

Thermal cameras

Control when they record

Sales of our thermal cameras have been going well. It's been great getting these cameras into the hands of more people working on important projects and to get their feedback on how we can improve them. Some of the improvements we are looking at include:

  • A solar option so you don't need to change batteries
  • A secure box for when the camera is in a high traffic area where people will see it.
  • Improved communication options
  • A battery meter
  • The ability to use lead acid batteries.

We have recently added the ability for you to change when the camera records. The default is to record from dusk till dawn which is when most of the predators are active. Our customers hunting stoats want the cameras on 24/7. Previously you contacted us and we would remotely configure the cameras to do this. Now you can control when the thermal camera records by following these instructions.

Check out an updated story on how Shakespear Park have caught 7 stoats. Our thermal cameras have helped them understand where the stoats are.

Trap update

This week The Cacophony Project posted an update on their trap. This includes:

  • An update on catch rates (10-60%)
  • New auto reset mechanism
  • Simplification to have 2 blinds and other changes to reduce weight and cost
  • An outline of the areas the team are working on now.
  • A video of the trap catching a stoat.

Here at 2040 we have started a small manufacturing run of traps for some customers. We hope to deliver these in the spring so we can make a difference, protecting some birds as they begin nesting in specific projects (more information to come on this).

We've also done some calculations on how we could significantly reduce the price of our traps if we manufactured enough of them. Check out our blog post showing how you could save $750,000.

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2040 Ltd is a social enterprise whose mission is to eradicate predators from NZ by manufacturing and selling open source technology developed by The Cacophony Project.