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Cornell Lab of Ornithology: eBird

Cornell Lab of Ornithology: eBird

Cornell Lab reports that more than 200,000 people contribute to its citizen-science projects each year. Scientists use these data to determine how birds are affected by habitat loss, pollution and disease. They trace bird migration and document long-term changes in bird numbers across the continent. The results have been used to create management guidelines for birds, investigate the effects of acid rain and climate change, and advocate for the protection of declining species.

eBird is an on-line checklist project where you can enter and store your bird observations in a central database, track your personal records, and share your observations with other birders and scientists. Cornell also provides graphing, mapping and analysis tools to better understand patterns of bird occurrence and the environmental and human factors that influence them. This real-time data resource produces millions of observations per year.

Launched in 2002 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, eBird documents the presence or absence of species, as well as bird abundance through checklist data.

A TalkingScience Citizen Science Buzz blog post from March 23, 2011, provides more insight into the eBird project.

Project Details

  • PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Janis Dickinson
  • 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, then follow the steps for inputting information about your birding  observations.

    For additional information, contact Janis Dickinson, director of Citizen Science and associate professor of natural resources, Cornell University Lab of Ornithology, jld84@cornell.edu.

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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