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NestWatch

NestWatch

NestWatch is a nest-monitoring project developed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in collaboration with the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, and funded by the National Science Foundation. Global environmental monitoring must include monitoring of biological organisms if we wish to understand the causes of and solutions for species declines. As a result, the need for large, continent-wide databases tracking survival and reproductive success of a wide range of species is increasing.

NestWatch teaches people about bird breeding biology and engages them in collecting and submitting nest records. Such records include information about nest site location, habitat, species, and number of eggs, young, and fledglings. Citizen scientists submit their nest records to our online database where their observations are compiled with those of other participants in a continentwide effort to better understand and manage the impacts of environmental change on bird populations.

Once fully populated, the database will house nearly 400,000 stored nest records spanning more than 40 years and 500 species.

Project Details

  • PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Jason Martin, Project Leader
  • SCIENTIST AFFILIATION: Cornell University Lab of Ornithology
  • DATES: Ongoing
  • PROJECT TYPE: Observation
  • COST: Free
  • GRADE LEVEL: All Ages
  • TIME COMMITMENT: Variable
  • HOW TO JOIN:

    Create an account on the NestWatch Web site or contact the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

See more projects in FreeObservationAll Ages.

What Is Citizen Science?

Research often involves teams of scientists collaborating across continents. Now, using the power of the Internet, non-specialists are participating, too. Citizen Science falls into many categories. A pioneering project was SETI@Home, which has harnessed the idle computing time of millions of participants in the search for extraterrestrial life. Citizen scientists also act as volunteer classifiers of heavenly objects, such as in Galaxy Zoo. They make observations of the natural world, as in The Great Sunflower Project. And they even solve puzzles to design proteins, such as FoldIt. We'll add projects regularly—and please tell us about others you like as well.

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