North American Bird Phenology Program

North American Bird Phenology Program

The North American Bird Phenology Program (BPP), part of the USA-National Phenology Network, was a network of volunteer observers who recorded information on first arrival dates, maximum abundance and departure dates of migratory birds across North America. (Phenology is the study of the timing of natural events.) Active between 1880 and 1970, the BPP was coordinated by the federal government and sponsored by the American Ornithologists' Union. It exists now as a historic collection of six million migration card observations, illuminating almost a century of migration patterns and population status of birds.

Today these records are being scanned and placed on the Internet so the information can be curated and made publicly available. Become one of the many volunteers worldwide who transcribe these records on the BPP Web site and add them into a database for analysis. This will allow the migration records to become accessible to the public and to scientists for analysis.

Project Details

  • PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Jessica Zelt, Program Coordinator
  • SCIENTIST AFFILIATION: Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Beltsville, Md.
  • DATES: Ongoing
  • PROJECT TYPE: Data Processing
  • COST: Free
  • GRADE LEVEL: All Ages

    Fill in the information on the BPP Web site and click "Sign Up."

See more projects in FreeData ProcessingAll 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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