Posted by: hlumpkin | November 13, 2012

Monitoring Birds for a Citizen Science Project

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In field instruction Conserve School students learned the basics of birding and collected data about the bird species present at one of the school’s bird feeders.  Then they entered these data into an online database of bird sightings recorded by bird watchers around the world called eBird (http://ebird.org/content/ebird/about).  The data recorded through eBird is made available to the public and to scientists who are interested in studying bird populations.

A few of the students at Conserve School were already avid bird watchers before this lesson, but for many of our students this was the first time that they had ever seen a bird through a pair of binoculars.  After seeing her first bird one student exclaimed “Now I understand why people are so crazy about bird watching!  This is so awesome!”  It was a pleasure to introduce these new bird watchers to what, for them, may become a lifelong outdoor activity.  Bird watching is great because that anyone can do it and it can be done anywhere.  This field instruction lesson gave Conserve School’s students the skills, and for some the enthusiasm, that they will need to involve others in their community in bird watching, using bird watching as a tool for connecting people to nature.

~ Graduate Fellow Heather Lumpkin

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