With the help of Cornell Lab of Ornithology, anyone can be a year round citizen scientist. Check out these Cornell websites and applications that will bring out the scientist in you!
NestWatch – Document your data!
NestWatch is Bluebird Experience’s bridge between nature and technology. This website is used every monitoring season to document the data at each Bluebird Trail. NestWatch tracks trends in the reproductive biology of birds, including when nesting occurs, number of eggs laid, how many eggs hatch, and how many hatchlings survive. To become a certified NestWatcher, visit www.nestwatch.org.
How this helps: By adding data into this ever growing database, you are providing critical information to ornithologists. Without your help, it’s impossible to obtain enough data on all these birds for them to be accurately studied. Also, it’s a great way for you to learn about birding habits and habitats!
eBird – What do you hear?
This is the perfect app to bring along on a walk to document what birds you hear and see along the way. It is very popular by birders all over the world and extremely easy to use. Simply follow the prompts to select or enter the location of the birds, enter the date and time of the encounter, select the species of bird, and finally the number of birds seen. For more information, visit www.ebird.org, or download “eBird” from the app store.
How this helps: The data you enter is then documented in the Cornell database and can determine the presence, absence, or abundance of a species in particular areas.
Project FeederWatch – What do you see?
This project requires a winter-long commitment to observing an individual birdfeeder or area. The project takes place from November-April and all you have to do is count the birds at your favorite feeder. It’s up to you how often you’d like to observe, it could be daily, weekly, or even monthly! For more information, visit www.feederwatch.org.
How this helps: FeederWatch data help scientists track broad scale movements of winter bird populations and long-term trends in bird distribution and abundance.
Yardmap – What’s in your backyard?
Another way to become a citizen scientist is to create your own bird/bug/animal friendly habitat. Yardmap is here to help create your dream habitat and to help attract the animals you want to see. Through the use of satellite images, Yardmap cues in on your location, helps map out a habitat, and provides guidance on what to plant and where to plant it. It’s a great tool to use to ensure the success of your nature friendly habitat. To learn more, visit www.yardmap.org.
How this helps: Through the use of this website, we are transforming our landscapes into nature friendly habitats. There is over 18,000 sites created and 283,000 acres mapped out using Yardmap. This is a fun way to help restore our Earth.
These are not the only programs Cornell Lab of Ornithology has to offer. These are the four that Bluebird Experience has used most often. There are also many different ways to become a citizen scientist, all that matters is that you step outside and become one!