Bird ScienceYou don't have to be an ornithologist, a scientist who studies birds, to contribute to important research about birds. Since scientists can't be everywhere birds are, individuals, families and other groups can help them gather information. These helpers are called citizen scientists.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology uses information from scientists and from citizen scientists. Through Project FeederWatch, you can keep track of the birds which visit your feeder and send the information to the researchers. Participants help in the understanding of the distribution (where they are) and abundance (how many there are) of birds. Participants in other citizen science programs collect data on urban birds and nesting birds. To learn to learn more about how you can contribute to these and other programs at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, visit their website. You can even view video of birds in their nest, caring for their young!
Contributors to New York's Breeding Bird Atlas project look for signs of birds nesting and raising young in the wild. To learn about the Breeding Bird Atlas project and to see distribution maps of breeding birds in New York visit the DEC's Breeding Bird Atlas webpage.
Children filling bird feeder
Focus on the Eastern Bluebird-New York's State Bird
Bluebirds are among the first birds to return in the spring from southern wintering areas. They prefer open habitats like fields, orchards and gardens, where they find plenty of insects to eat. Bluebirds are cavity nesters, which means they nest in holes in trees made by other birds like woodpeckers or in bird boxes provided by people. Once considered rare, bluebirds are more common today because of conservation efforts. Along U.S. Route 20, there is a research trail of bluebird boxes that stretches nearly 400 miles. Along U.S. Route 11, the New York State Bluebird Society is establishing an education trail of bluebird boxes, to be monitored by schools in the area. Visit our website for instructions to make and care for a bluebird nest box and links to the New York State Bluebird Society and the North American Bluebird Society.
For more information:
The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds (Eastern Region) by John Bull & John Fearrand, Jr., (Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York, 1977
Birds, Birds, Birds! (Ranger Rick's NatureScope) by Judy Braus, ed. (National Wildlife Federation, Washington, DC, 1989)
Bird Watch by Mary MacPherson (Summerhill Press, Toronto, 1988)
Birdwise by Pamela M. Hickman for the Federation of Ontario Naturalists (Kids Can Press Ltd., Toronto, 1988)
A Field Guide to the Birds of Eastern and Central North America by Roger Tory Peterson (Houghton, Mifflin Company, Boston, 1980)