Did you know that bird watching helps contribute to science and conservation?
Thousands of citizen scientists are reporting their bird sightings to eBird, an online checklist database run by the National Audubon Society and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. There, you can check in to a hotspot and record the birds you can properly identify in real-time. Scientists then use this data to map out bird populations, both locally and worldwide, to monitor bird behaviors, migrations, breeding grounds, and other essential information necessary for the conservation of different avian species.
"No other citizen science projects have proved more immensely popular and valuable as eBird and iNaturalist,” said Jen Brumfield, Cleveland Metroparks Naturalist. “Both web-based and phone app programs bring the scientific world of data collection to the palms and keyboards of citizen scientists. Locally, Cleveland Metroparks leads efforts to record local natural history in real-time, through wildlife camera projects, breeding bird and plant surveys, forest health management and wetland health assessments. Studying and understanding native birdlife is critical to protecting our natural environment."
Not only does this help further our understanding of birds, the excitement of adding another bird that you’ve never seen before to your own personal ongoing list is as fulfilling as it is fun. You can even bird watch as a family to get the next generation excited and involved with nature.
It’s as simple as downloading the eBird app on your phone and keeping track of the birds you see as you walk around the Zoo. It’s easy to use, and their website has great information on how to get started. You can use their site to see the latest sightings of birds in your neighborhood, your local parks, and of course your Cleveland Metroparks Zoo!
There are several naturalists at various Cleveland Metroparks reservations who guide bird-watching hikes for people of all ages and experience levels. Check online for details.