Projects in Community Science, also called Citizen Science, are a fun way to contribute meaningfully in collecting data about our local bird and pollinator populations and beyond. The data that you collect help scientists study such things as diversity in nature and trends in populations. No formal training is required, but just curiosity, a willingness to go out and explore, and a smartphone or computer where you can record the information collected by you or your group.

The following projects are excellent ones to get involved in this time of year and are just a few of the many programs included on our Bird Town Pennsylvania’s website. Please visit our full listing here.

If you live in a more urban setting, this a fun program to support your local birds and provide critical data about their populations. It’s a bilingual program which is equity based and seeks to promote community-led scientific research programming. It also incorporates art, culture and other artistic expressions. To share how urban birds use green spaces, just pick a location, choose three days and times to watch, and complete a simple check list.

To participate, a Cornell Lab account must be set up, and the program requires a knowledge of regional birds. Based on your location when you sign up, though, a list of birds to observe in your area will provided and also a link to learn more about them. Please visit here to get started.

Do you enjoy watching Bluebirds? With spring right around the corner, Nest Watch is a great way to support them and other nesting birds. It’s a nationwide monitoring program designed to track status and trends in the reproductive biology of birds, including when nesting occurs, number of eggs laid, how many eggs hatch, and how many hatchlings survive. The database is intended to be used to study the current condition of breeding bird populations and how they may be changing over time as a result of climate change, habitat degradation and loss, expansion of urban areas, and the introduction of non-native plants and animals. While a knowledge of birds is required, there are resources on the website to help with identification of both birds and their eggs. This program provides a code of conduct, a nesting monitor manual, and protocols. Visit here for more information.

This is a great time to get involved and informed, before Spring hits. To get started, you will need to take an easy online quiz to become certified. Once you’re approved, you are then free to begin monitoring nesting boxes or even looking for nests, recording the data, and submitting your findings online. Be sure to check with your local Bird Towns to see if they are already doing this and consider joining their efforts.

Heidi Shiver, Bird Town Pennsylvania President and PA Audubon Council Secretary – author and image credit