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Help develop a Bird ID tool!

Participate

How to Choose a Citizen-Science Project

Tree Swallows are a great species for NestWatch
 
 

Anyone who likes to watch birds can participate in a citizen-science project. To get started, take a look at the list below. Projects vary in the amount of skill required, from beginning to advanced. Some require as little as 10 minutes; others will benefit from as much time as you care to contribute.

Choose a project that meets your interests and matches the settings where you like to watch birds, whether in your own yard, urban neighborhoods, or North America’s great outdoors.

Great Backyard Bird Count

Count for fun – count for the future! Tally birds at any location, fill out your checklist online, and watch the counts pour in from around the continent. Great for bird watchers of all ages.

  • When: Four days in mid-February
  • Where: United States and Canada
  • Time commitment: Minimal
  • Skill level: Beginning to advanced
  • Organization: Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society

Celebrate Urban Birds!

Learn more about birds in cities through gardening, art activities, and observing birds. Sign up for a free kit with posters, data forms, sticker, and seed packet.

  • When: Year-round
  • Where: Urban and suburban areas
  • Time commitment: Minimal to moderate
  • Skill level: Beginning to intermediate
  • Organization: Cornell Lab of Ornithology

My Yard eBird

Keep track of the birds in your yard year-round, online, with this special eBird project focused around your home. Mark your yard on the online map and start recording your birds. You’ll contribute to eBird’s database covering all habitats across North America.

  • When: Year-round
  • Where: United States and Canada
  • Time commitment: Flexible (minimal to moderate)
  • Skill level: Beginning to intermediate
  • Organization: Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society

PigeonWatch

Have fun watching pigeons - your observations will help scientists understand why there are so many colors of pigeons. The free participant kit includes identification posters, resource guide, instructions, and data forms. A good activity for families, educators, and groups.

  • When: Year-round
  • Where: Worldwide, anywhere you see pigeons
  • Time commitment: Minimal to moderate
  • Skill level: Beginning to intermediate
  • Organization: Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Project FeederWatch

This project will change the way you see birds at your feeders. Count feeder birds to help scientists monitor long-term trends in the distribution and abundance of birds in winter.

  • When: November through April
  • Where: Bird feeders in the United States and Canada
  • Time commitment: Moderate
  • Skill level: Beginning to advanced
  • Organization: Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Bird Studies Canada

eBird

Keep track of your bird sightings and share what you’ve seen online with scientists, educators, and other bird watchers. This real-time, online checklist program has revolutionized the way that the birding community reports and accesses information about birds.

  • When: Year-round
  • Where: North America, Latin America, Caribbean, and more
  • Time commitment: Flexible: minimal to moderate
  • Skill level: Beginning to advanced
  • Organization: Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society

NestWatch

Learn how to find and monitor bird nests. Watch birds as they build nests, care for their eggs, and raise their young. Your observations help scientists understand the behaviors of breeding birds and how successful the birds are each year.

  • When: Spring and summer
  • Where: United States and Canada
  • Time commitment: Moderate
  • Skill level: Beginning to advanced
  • Organization: Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center

CamClickr

Help scientists sort and label images of nesting birds online. NestCams have captured more than 7 million photographs. You can score your efforts as you contribute to a useful archive of images for scientific study.

  • When: Year-round
  • Where: Anywhere with Internet access
  • Time commitment: Minimal to moderate
  • Skill level: Beginning to advanced
  • Organization: Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Christmas Bird Count

Join a century-long tradition of counting birds with others in your area. Help tally birds within a “Count Circle” near you, in efforts coordinated by Count Compilers.

  • When: One day in December or January
  • Where: Locations throughout the Western Hemisphere
  • Time commitment: Moderate
  • Skill level: Beginning to advanced
  • Organization: National Audubon Society

Priority Migrant eBird

Report sightings of five long-distance migrants that are undergoing recent precipitous population declines: Cerulean Warblers, Golden-winged Warblers, Blue-winged Warblers, Canada Warblers, and Olive-sided Flycatchers. Help track the abundance and distribution of these birds during the nonbreeding season.

  • When: Nonbreeding season
  • Where: North America, Latin America, Caribbean
  • Time commitment: Minimal to high
  • Skill level: Intermediate to advanced
  • Organization: Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Breeding Bird Atlases

Help with intensive monitoring of breeding birds in an assigned grid. Results are published in atlases, which provide valuable information for conservation efforts.

  • When: Spring and summer
  • Where: United States and Canada
  • Time commitment: Moderate to high
  • Skill level: Intermediate to advanced
  • Organization: Varies regionally

Breeding Bird Survey

Survey birds along established roadside routes using a rigorous protocol. Scientists use the data in continentwide analyses of bird population trends.

  • When: Spring and summer
  • Where: United States and Canada
  • Time commitment: Moderate
  • Skill level: Advanced
  • Organization: U.S. Geological Survey and Canadian Wildlife Service

Join Project FeederWatch
Project FeederWatch Join

MORE CITIZEN SCIENCE

Find more citizen-science offerings:

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