Archive for the ‘Birds’ Category

How to Tell a Rock from a Penguin: It’s Harder Than It Sounds

By January 26th, 2017 at 4:22 pm | Comment

Adelie penguins. Credit: Jean Pennycook

By: Lishka Arata

Many things distinguish penguins from rocks. There’s color difference (usually), behavior (penguins waddle, rocks don’t), social structure (rocks don’t have one) — the list goes on. But why might someone need to distinguish between rocks and penguins?

It’s a skill central to a long-term project that relies on citizen scientists, working from the comfort of their homes, to identify penguins in photographs taken by remotely operated cameras in Antarctica. The project, focused on Adelie penguins, aims to determine how climate change affects living systems. Read the rest of this entry »

12 Days of Christmas with Citizen Science (seriously!)

By December 22nd, 2016 at 2:16 pm | Comment

Photo: John Ohab

Photo: John Ohab

The holiday season is upon us! In the spirit of the season, we’ve put together another edition of our annual 12 Days of Christmas Newsletter. ANNNNNNNND…as our gift to you, we’ve made it possible for you to track your citizen science contributions and interests in one place! Check out the beta version of SciStarter 2.0. Sign up, complete your profile, and earn credit for your awesome contributions to research!

Cheers!
The SciStarter Team

Read the rest of this entry »

Winter Birding- Seasonal Citizen Science for Everyone!

By December 8th, 2016 at 4:47 pm | Comment

Photo: USFWS

Photo: USFWS

Citizen scientists have been studying birds for over 100 years, and some of the most popular projects involve observing birds throughout the winter.  Below, we highlight five projects that study birds during the winter.  Whether you want to watch birds while outdoors or from the comfort of your home, we have a project for you!  Find more with the SciStarter Project Finder.

Cheers!
The SciStarter Team

Photo: USFWS
Midwinter Bald Eagle Survey
In the United States, volunteers are needed in the first half of January to look for eagles along standard survey routes. It’s always a treat to count these majestic birds!

Photo: USFWS
Puget Sound Seabird Survey 
From October to April, volunteers in Washington state walk the coastline counting overwintering water birds. Data are collected on over 50 species!

Photo: USFWS
South Texas Wintering Birds
Many birds spend the winter in South Texas. If you go birding anywhere in the region, either in an urban or rural area, report your bird sightings to this project.

Photo: Jean Pennycock
Study Adelie Penguin Breeding
This is a great project for classrooms in November through January. Using online photos and data from Antarctica, students can study Adelie Penguin behavior. The project offers many online resources for educators.

Photo: USFWS
Project FeederWatch
If you enjoy watching birds from your window, this is the perfect project for you! In North America, citizen scientists can observe and report on the birds visiting their feeders during the winter months.

Help SciStarter help you! Take this 10 minute survey on what information you find most important about projects. Check out SciStarter’s Project Finder! With 1100+ projects spanning every field of research, task and age group, there’s something for everyone!

Celebrating the citizen in citizen science

By November 2nd, 2016 at 5:57 pm | Comment

Volunteers process birds as part of COASST program. Image credit: COASST

Volunteers process birds as part of COASST program. Image credit: COASST

I believe that citizen science is about citizenship as well as science. By this, I don’t mean citizenship in a specific country, but in a larger community. As a citizen scientist focusing on the natural world, I become a better citizen of that world—the world of tree frogs, say, or hummingbirds or dragonflies. Citizen science makes me a better citizen of a particular place, like the river where I am looking for macroinvertebrates or the mountain range where I document invasive plant species.

Recently, I was pleased to read a paper in the journal Conservation Biology that explores whether participating in citizen science also leads to a more conventional citizenship. The authors test the theory that citizen science is a path to social and political action by taking a close look at the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST), a program that relies on volunteers to monitor beached seabirds from Mendocino, California to Kotzebue, Alaska. Read the rest of this entry »

Spring, Citizen Science and some Irish luck!

By March 22nd, 2016 at 11:59 pm | Comment

Photo: CL Goforth
Critter Tracking
With spring weather upon us, many animals are on the move. Contribute your wildlife observations to advance scientific research. Learn how, below.

Find projects from our pals in Ireland, Canada, the EU, and now, Australia through our brand new international partnership. Like citizen science, SciStarter is global.

You can find more projects via the SciStarter Project Finder.

Cheers!
The SciStarter Team

Read the rest of this entry »