Archive for the ‘Birds’ tag

Citizen Science with your sun, sand, and surf?

By July 6th, 2017 at 1:47 pm | Comment

Citizen Science at the Beach
While you’re strolling along the beach this summer, consider sharing some of your keen observations with marine ecologists. Below, we’ve highlighted six beach-related citizen science projects to monitor the health of marine habitats. There is even one you can do while couch-surfing (see what we did there?). Find more projects and events on SciStarter, to do now or bookmark for later. 
Cheers!
The SciStarter Team

JellyWatch
JellyWatch
Have you seen a jellyfish at your favorite beach yet? Jellywatch is a global public database documenting jellyfish but also red tides, squid and mammal strandings, and other indicators of ocean health. It’s simple to share your beach observations with this open database.
Location: Any coastal beach

E. Demers
British Columbia Beached Bird Survey
Surveying bird mortality is a helpful measure of marine ecology health. If you spot a dead bird along the beach, send in your observation to these researchers.
Location: British Columbia, Canada

Maui Coastal Marine Debris Monitoring
Maui Coastal Marine Debris Monitoring  
Help quantify and remove debris from Maui’s coastline. Contact project organizer Pacific Whale Foundation to get supplies before heading out. This project also works with schools to support conservation education.
Location: Maui, HI 

Big Seaweed Search
Monitor environmental changes along the coastlines of the United Kingdom. These observations help track the distribution of native plants and the occurrence of invasive species.
Location: United Kingdom

Beam Reach, CC-NC-SA
Orcasound
Help protect the habitat of the endangered Pacific Northwest orca. Listen in real time to underwater sounds and record when you hear orca sounds or threatening man-made sounds.
Location: Online

Susan Hicks
Grunion Greeters
This project reports on the behavior of grunions, silvery fish that come ashore to spawn. Grunion runs occur about this time each year. If you missed the run, you can use SciStarter’s Bookmark feature to be reminded of this project next season.
Location: California, USA 

Want more citizen science?  Discover more citizen science for this summer on the SciStarter Calendar.  Also, check out SciStarter’s Project Finder! With 1100+ citizen science projects spanning every field of research, task and age group, there’s something for everyone!

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 »

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 »

Citizen Science for Lovers of Birds and Bees!

By May 16th, 2014 at 10:43 pm | Comment

Let us tell ‘ya about the birds and the bees — for citizen science, that is! Here are just a few buzz-worthy projects to get you started.

Also, don’t forget to stop by DISCOVER Magazine and SciStarter’s online Citizen Science Salon; look for our new collaboration in the pages of Discover starting this month; or listen to beautifully produced citizen science stories from our partners at WHYY radio!

 

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The Great Sunflower Project

Help researchers create a national bee population map to study the decline of bees. Simply plant sunflowers and watch for bee visits a few times a month. Get started!

 

Celebrate Urban Birds

Help ornithologists learn about 16 key species of urban birds by tracking up to 16 species of birds for just 10 mins in a small area near you. Get started! (Photo: Louise Docker)

 

Bee Hunt

Use digital photography to help provide a better understanding of pollinators’ importance in growing food and maintaining healthy natural ecosystems. Get started!

 

 


North American Bird Phenology Program

Millions of bird migration records have been scanned. Care to illuminate almost a century of migration patterns and population status of birds? Transcribe records so they can be included in an open database for analysis. Get started!

 

ZomBeeWatch
The Zombie Fly has been found parasitizing honey bees in California, Oregon, South Dakota, Vermont and Washington. Where else in North America are bees infected by Zombie Flies? Help solve the mystery by collecting honey bees and reporting easy-to-spot signs of infection. You’ll know it when you see it! Get started!


On Sunday, 5/18 at 9:26 am ET, the Space X Dragon Cargo will be released from the International Space Station to return to Earth. The Cargo will splash down into the Pacific Ocean returning our very own citizen science research project, Project MERCCURI, to Earth! You can watch this all take place, LIVE, on NASA TV: May 18, Sunday 9 a.m.

Learn more about Project MERCCURI at SpaceMicrobes.org.

Want your project featured in our newsletter? Contact jenna@scistarter.com

Surveying Seabirds of the Puget Sound this Holiday Season.

By December 25th, 2013 at 1:00 pm | Comment

If you’re looking for more projects for the holiday season, we’ve got 12 Days of Citizen Science for you!

Counting seabirds on the Puget Sound

Counting seabirds on the Puget Sound

“On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…” birds! Partridges, turtle doves, French hens, calling birds, golden rings (pheasants), geese and swans inhabit this festival folk classic celebrating food and merriment. Seabirds, cousins of our dinner table counterparts, enjoy a winter migration to good eats and family too. Yet changes in climate and their relationship with man are driving population declines. Can citizen scientists help conserve our feathered friends?

The Puget Sound Seabird Survey (PSSS), in association with the Seattle Audubon Society, is enlisting citizen scientists to catalog the diversity of coastal birds along three square miles of Puget Sound saltwater habitat.

During seabird’s annual migrations, near shore saltwater habitats, such as the Puget Sound, provide valuable food and mating sites. Nearly all species of coastal birds including geese, ducks, swans, loons, grebes, cormorants, gulls, terns and alcids have experienced population declines since the late 1970s due to ecosystem changes caused by human development. Stopping to watch these graceful birds on your way to Grandma’s house can provide important population clues for local scientists.

Now in its sixth season, PSSS is the only land-based study of seabirds in the central and south Puget Sound. (Previous studies relied on aerial and marine data.) “PSSS is a scalable program that engages citizen scientists to collect significant data on valuable environmental indicators” explains Adam Sedgley, former science manager of the Seattle Audubon Society.

Identifying grebes of Puget Sound

Identifying grebes of Puget Sound

On the first Saturday of each month from October to April, citizen scientists are paired with experienced bird watchers and seabird scientists to identify all species of wintering coastal seabirds. Armed with your keen powers of observation, binoculars, compass and rulers; teams survey one of 82 sites along the Puget Sound using a method known as distance sampling. Directly counting each bird can be a challenge to new birders – species are hard to see and identify at a distance, poor weather conditions obscure views, and birds are often underwater. In distance sampling, citizen scientists simply line up a ruler with the horizon then measure the distance to the each bird in millimeters. Record the birds you’ve seen, their distance from the horizon, and compass bearing on PSSS’s interactive website. Using this data, scientists accurately estimate population size and health creating a snapshot of seabird natural history for more than 2400 acres of Puget Sound. This snapshot helps to inform conservation and oil spill clean up efforts.

Being a birder has never been easier. PSSS and the Seattle Audubon Society have developed excellent resources for citizen scientists including the stunning photographs by local photographer David Gluckman and an interactive website with information on all species of seabirds found in the Puget Sound region as well as their habitat and life histories. They also have an interactive map for you to explore each of the survey sites based on the most birds observed or most diverse areas.

Why not take a stop while you’re venturing “over the river and through the woods” this holiday season to watch the birdies?

Images: PSSS and David Gluckman


Dr. Melinda T. Hough is a freelance science advocate and communicator. Her previous work has included a Mirzayan Science and Technology Graduate Policy Fellowship at the National Academy of Sciences (2012), co-development of several of the final science policy questions with ScienceDebate.org (2012), consulting on the development of the Seattle Science Festival EXPO day (2012), contributing photographer for JF Derry’s book “Darwin in Scotland” (2010) and outreach projects to numerous to count. Not content to stay stateside, Melinda received a B.S in Microbiology from the University of Washington (2001) before moving to Edinburgh, Scotland where she received a MSc (2002) and PhD (2008) from the University of Edinburgh trying to understand how antibiotics kill bacteria. Naturally curious, it is hard to tear Melinda away from science; but if you can, she might be found exploring, often behind the lens of her Nikon D80, training for two half-marathons, or plotting her next epic adventure.