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Backyard detectives boost scientists’ work

Credit: Citrix / CC0 public domain

Georgetown University ecologist Emily Williams was first fascinated by birds not because of their beauty or sweet songs. She was fascinated by their extraordinary travel.


“It was just amazing to me that this little animal that fits in the palm of my hand could travel thousands of miles one way in the spring and then again later that year,” she said. “I have always been amazed at the migration.”

This spring and summer, her research project to track Komatsugumi’s annual migration was boosted by the enthusiasm of homeowners in the Washington metropolitan area, causing her and her research assistant to set up a temporary research station in the backyard before dawn. And from time to time, they provided their own notes and observations.

Some homeowners enthusiastically showed her where she found Robin’s nest in the bushes of shrubs, and shared a diary she wrote about the movement of birds through the garden. Tufted titmouse, nodojiroshi, red-shouldered squirrel.

Williams often begins fieldwork at 4:30 am, but can only enter one backyard at a time. As such, her work, like the work of many biologists, benefits from the cooperation and excitement of more and more citizen scientists. Some of them record their daily observations with Cornell University’s popular birdwatching smartphone app, eBird.

“People who love birds and report their sightings, which really helps scientists learn more about bird behavior and distribution,” said Adrián, an ecologist at Cornell University. It states.

Arjun Amar, a conservation biologist at the University of Cape Town, uses photos uploaded by citizen scientists to Cornell’s platform as the basis for new research projects, including investigating global changes in the stripes on the face of Hayabusa. And reduce the glare of the sun and allow them to dive at a tremendous speed. “Until now, it wouldn’t have been possible,” he said.

A pandemic that paused much of normal life (stopping travel and trapping people at home) has given many families more time to study wildlife in their backyards.

Cornell’s records show the boom in amateur birdwatching. The number of people who submitted an eBird checklist to record bird sightings increased 37% year-on-year in 2020. The annual “Big Day” event, which encourages witness submissions during spring migration (May 8th this year), also set a record for participation.

Many non-scientist friends have started birdwatching in the past year, Williams said.

“You’ll probably have to go to Alaska or Canada to see grizzly bears, or to Africa to see zebras. But birds are literally just outside your door, no matter where you are in the world.” People really started paying attention to their backyard because they were often at home. For us as scientists, this is a great boon and more people are grateful. bird


Scientists admire the golden age of using technology to track bird movements


© 2021 Associated Press.

Quote: For the love of birds: Backyard sluice boosts scientists’ research (11 June 2021), 11 June 2021 https://phys.org/news/2021-06-birds- Obtained from backyard-sleuths-boost-scientists.html

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Backyard detectives boost scientists’ work

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