In order to study the movements and breeding of Melbourne's Black Swans, researchers began fitting collars to Albert Park swans in 2006 and continue to this day, with around 300 wearing collars so far. The MySwan project is one of the longest-running bird studies in the world, and it's dependent on input from the public. Researchers find that public reports contribute very substantial and largely accurate data, and consider the potential of Web-based interactive tools to encourage public participation in science.
Thus far, researchers (with help from citizen-science observations) have determined several things about the black swan. Whereas the old adage that they mate for life is true, these birds also have affairs with other swans, for example. By testing the DNA of cygnets and their parents, it was revealed some young were not the offspring of both their parents at all.
- PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Raoul Mulder, Associate Professor
- SCIENTIST AFFILIATION: University of Melbourne Department of Zoology, Australia
- DATES: Ongoing
- LOCATION: ALL - Australia
- PROJECT TYPE: Fieldwork
- COST: Free
- GRADE LEVEL: All Ages
- TIME COMMITMENT: Variable
HOW TO JOIN:
Have you seen a swan wearing a neck collar? By reporting the details of a sighting, citizen scientists can make a valuable contribution to research on the behavior and movements of swans. Step through the questions on the site to provide details of the sighting, and press 'submit'. Those reporting get an instant report about the swan, with interesting information about its history and recent movements.