Ways to Help Bird Researchers
Families can help scientists and enjoy nature through bird-related citizen science projects. Find out about specific opportunities and local parks and nature centers that offer programs to help kids learn about birds.
Ways to help bird research
Citizen science, where the public observes and reports data, has "transformed science" for ornithology, says Pat Leonard, staff writer and spokesperson for The Cornell Lab of Ornithology. "How else could you gather that volume of data?" she asks.
The data gathered through Project FeederWatch and other citizen scientist projects like it goes into the Avian Knowledge Network database (www.avianknowledge.net/content). "It's a huge pool of raw data available to people who want to ask questions," Leonard says.
Other projects that people can participate in to observe and provide data that helps scientists include:
Great Backyard Bird Count, Feb. 18-21, 2011: Count and report birds during a four-day period. Citizen scientists can watch and count for as little as 15 minutes one day. Joint project with Audubon [www.audubon.org] and Bird Studies Canada [http://www.bsc-eoc.org].
eBird: Record birds you see, keep track of your bird lists, and explore maps and graphs. Year-round bird checklist; provided with Audubon.
Celebrate Urban Birds: Watch birds for 10 minutes and send in the data. Year-round program promotes conservation through gardening, the arts and observation.
PigeonWatch: Count pigeons and record courtship behaviors in this year-round program.
NestWatch: Monitor nests and collect breeding data used to track North American breeding birds' reproduction during the spring and summer.
NestCams and CamClickr: Watch the nesting cycle and tag and classify breeding behaviors.
BirdSleuth: A citizen science curriculum for middle school students based on inquiry.
Little River Regional Park and Natural Area
301 Little River Park Way, Rougemont, N.C.
A bird trail, other trails, gardens, and nature programs. Park Facebook page has suet recipes and information about programs for children and families.
North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and?Centennial Campus Center for Wildlife Education
N.C. State University's Centennial Campus,?1751 Varsity Dr., Raleigh, N.C.
Exhibit hall, trails, rain garden and bird feeders with webcams.
Town of Cary Stevens Nature Center at Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd., Cary, N.C.
Information about the nature center and a link to programs for families and children.
Blue Jay Point Wake County Park
3200 Pleasant Union Church Rd., Raleigh, N.C.
Environmental education center, hiking trails, gardens, and programs for children and families, including ones about birds.