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Posts Tagged ‘Monarchs’

eBird

Over Labor Day weekend, I headed south with the Monarch butterflies (not far south enough though). Now that I am back, it appears they have all left as I have not seen one over the last two days.

While I didn’t get to catch any butterflies it seems I did catch a cold over the weekend. But there is good news! Laying around has given me plenty of time to find a new project: eBird.

eBird is a citizen science program where you can report your bird observations online. It is an online checklist of birdwatching activities where you record the presence of birds at a particular place and time. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society put together this program to investigate questions on bird populations, geographic ranges, migration routes and timing, and the impact of climate change from everyday birdwatchers’ observations. In addition, all of this information is accessible to you, the user. I spent a couple of hours today making graphs, maps and bar charts. You can do anything from create species range maps to find out all the different bird species that have been observed (and reported) at a particular site. It also does a great job of keeping track of the data you input and making it useful to you. eBird will even send you sighting alerts for rare birds or species you haven’t seen in an area.

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I recently decided to take on some citizen science projects while I’m here, because it would simply be a waste not to do so considering how much time I spend in and enjoy the outdoors.

Tagged Monarch

Image by steveburt1947 via Flickr

I really wish I had jumped on this sooner though for the citizen science project Monarch Watch. Over the last few days I haven’t been able to go outside for more than ten minutes without seeing at least one Monarch butterfly traveling south for the fall migration to Mexico. One way to participate in Monarch Watch is to tag Monarchs so researchers can gain information about survival, migration routes, etc. To participate, I had to first buy a tagging kit. However, based on my latitude, peak migration rates and the number of Monarchs I have seen recently, I don’t think I will get a kit in time. Until I receive one though, I plan to start a journal with my observations on their migration.

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