WDFW: Add to wildlife science while enjoying summertime activities

If you’re bird-watching at home or elsewhere, you can contribute to some of the longest running and best known on-line citizen science projects about birds, coordinated through Cornell University’s Lab of Ornithology.

NestWatch at http://nestwatch.org/ collects information on the species, nest location, habitat, number of eggs, and number of young to help scientists track the breeding success of birds across North America. Launched in 2007 with funding from the National Science Foundation, NestWatch has collected more than 100,000 nesting records. Combined with historic data, this information helps scientists address how birds are affected by large-scale changes such as global climate change, urbanization, and land use.

eBird at http://ebird.org/content/ebird/ is an online tool for birders to keep track of their own lists and contribute their bird sightings for use in science and conservation. Birders, scientists, and conservationists can collect, manage, and store their observations in eBird’s globally accessible database-or use graphing, mapping, and analysis tools to better understand patterns of bird occurrence and the environmental and human factors that influence them. This real-time data resource produces millions of observations per year from across the hemisphere. eBird is a joint project with the National Audubon Society.

YardMap Network at http://content.yardmap.org/ is a National Science Foundation-funded project that builds online communities to investigate the impacts of bird-friendly and carbon-neutral practices in backyards, community gardens, and parks. Participants locate their yards or parks on a Google maps interface, then document their sustainable practices, such as adding native plants, putting up bird nest boxes or feeders, installing a solar panel, or biking to work. By providing access to media resources for learning about sustainable practices and enabling people to share their maps and practices with each other, YardMap strives to create online conservation communities engaged in real life sustainable practices. YardMap Network was launched in 2011, in partnership with the National Audubon Society, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and others.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife also has recently initiated its own citizen science projects on a few state wildlife areas where some commitment to initial training and regular visits are required. You can learn more about them at http://wdfw.wa.gov/about/volunteer/citizen_science.html . 

We also are interested in wildlife observation reports on-line, specifically on wolf sightings, mountain goat encounters, detections of elk hoof rot deformations, moose sightings and invasive animal species.