2013 November NN – What is Citizen Science?


A group of Liberty birders on patrol.

A group of Liberty birders on patrol.

The data gathered from Citizen Scientist observations is added to formal research data to help guide bird conservation actions showing how birds are affected by habitat loss, pollution, and disease. It can trace bird migration patterns and document long-term changes in bird numbers. The results have been used to create management guidelines for bird habitats, investigate the effects of acid rain and climate change, and advocate for the protection of declining species. Cornell Lab has written more than 60 scientific papers using Citizen Science data since 1997. Observations have revealed striking changes in the movements, distributions, and numbers of birds over the recent years. Data is also used to promote involvement of individuals to learn about birds, science, and the environmental challenges we face including education on cultivating sustainable habits and habitats in our backyards, urban landscapes, open spaces, and parks.

Volunteer Citizen Scientists also make major contributions to data collection on rainfall, astronomy, weather, and insects, to name a few.

If you care about conservation of the wildlife of our planet, consider becoming a Citizen Scientist and contribute a few volunteer hours to help fill in the gaps of scientific data. It can be as easy as sitting in your comfy chair counting birds in your yard!

Here are some more resources, information, and places to start:

The Cornell Lab annual Project feeder watch season for 2013-2014 began on November 9 and will run through April of 2014. Click here to see the results for Arizona during this time period and for links on how you can participate and report your sightings: http://feederwatch.org

For general volunteer information to participate in the upcoming annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count beginning on 12/14/13 through 01/05/14, go to: http://birds.audubon.org/christmas-bird-count. For locations and contacts for Arizona Christmas Bird Counts, go to: http://www.azfo.org/CBC/cbc2013_2014.html

How to choose a bird Citizen Science project: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/page.aspx?pid=1175

For a list of volunteer projects, bird counts and monitoring including The Great Backyard Bird Count, eBird, Nestwatch, and more, go to: http://www.birds.cornell.edu/page.aspx?pid=1664 or
(The National Science Foundation). Keep current on ongoing nature research, discoveries, and citizen science contributions by clicking on “News.”


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