“Embrace Winter. Count Feeder Birds for Science.”
This is the slogan for Project FeederWatch, sponsored by Cornell Lab of Ornithology. I just joined and you can too! Project FeederWatch is a November through April bird survey of birds that visit backyards, nature centers, community area and other locales in North America. You don’t even need a feeder! All you need is an area with habitat, water, plantings or food that attracts birds. You count birds on your own schedule and report your counts online.
Click here to go to their website: Project FeederWatch
Project FeederWatch is supported almost entirely by its participants. The annual participation fee is $18 for US residents ($15 for Cornell Lab members).
It is a great way to get involved in Citizen Science. Here are some other opportunities:
The Zooniverse is the world’s largest and most popular platform for people-powered research. This research is made possible by volunteers — more than a million people around the world who come together to assist professional researchers. Their goal is to enable research that would not be possible, or practical, otherwise. Zooniverse research results in new discoveries, datasets useful to the wider research community, and many publications.
One example of a Zooniverse project is Nest Quest Go: Woodpeckers. In this project, volunteers transcribe data from nest cards. Among the Zooniverse collections are more than 300,000 nest records from the North American Nest Record Card Program that ran from the 1960s until the early 2000s. On these nest records, volunteers submitted detailed information on nesting behavior. As that data is transcribed, scientists will gain a better understanding of the challenges faced by a variety of woodpecker species, such as pollution, predation, cowbird parasitism, human disturbance and more.
Another Zooniverse project is Beluga Bits. In this project, citizen scientists categorize photographs from non-invasive underwater photography. The citizen science volunteers are answering questions: how many beluga whales are in the photo? how old are they? what is the sex of the whales? and are there any distinguishing markings? The data from this project will allow scientists to better understand the habitat preferences, social structure and life histories of the Western Hudson Bay Beluga.
If you are looking for more citizen science opportunities, visit SciStarter.org, the popular citizen science portal. At SciStarter, more than 3000 projects are searchable by location, topic, age level and more. You can find projects that you can do in your own back yard, or projects you can do online.
There are a lot of ways to get involved in science!