Recording bird sounds requires equipment such as a microphone, headphones and a recorder. The recorder serves as the core of the equipment rig, allowing the operator to use a microphone and headphones to capture and listen to the bird song. Parabolic and shotgun microphones are the most commonly used equipment for picking up bird songs outdoors. Once captured and amplified with the microphone, the sound is saved by a recorder for future editing and playbacks.
Parabolic microphones work by amplifying certain sound waves into the parabola, and reflecting them into the microphone. For this reason, parabolic microphones are best used in situations where a bird is singing at a great distance or in a large amount of background noise. Although precise, parabolic microphones require users to be adapt at focusing the device at the desired sound, and following it if it should move. Parabolic microphones are also not proficient at capturing low-frequency sounds, such as an owl's call, without a very large parabola.
Shotgun microphones are not precise or very proficient at amplifying bird calls, but they are more user friendly than parabolic microphones. This is because they are less cumbersome and do not require the user to be as technically precise while operating the device.
For recording the captured bird songs, any device with the capability can be used, but tape recorders store the best audio quality. If the recording must be transferred to a digital format, save the sounds as uncompressed digital files to retain the highest level of audio quality.