Entries tagged with “birds”.


Fox squirrrel

Fox squirrrel

Five people gathered for the regular (every 4th Saturday except December) bird walk at the Blue Ridge Center on a windy and chilly morning last Saturday. While it started out very cloudy, the sun came out and the wind increased dramatically as the morning progressed.  Most of the walk was spent in sheltered locations around the Education Center on the Farmstead Loop though a short visit afterwards to the Arnold Road segment of the center added a couple  more species, including two different Eastern Phoebes busily fly catching in a sheltered spot, and a Fox Squirrel sitting on a fence post in the sun.

 

Field Sparrow.  Photo by Diane Nastase

Field Sparrow.
Photo by Diane Nastase

Song sparrow. Photo by Diane Nastase

Song sparrow.
Photo by Diane Nastase

The highlights of the walk included at least six Ruby-crowned Kinglets in a variety of locations and habitats, a Brown Creeper and a couple of Hermit Thrushes deep in the woods near Piney Run. We also saw and heard several White-throated Sparrows, multiple Field Sparrows, a Catbird and a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. It was also fun watching a flock (one of two) of Cedar Waxwings devouring fox grapes in the top of a tree along piney Run.

For a complete list of the birds see the eBird list below.

Information on the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship can be found at http://www.blueridgecenter.org.  Information on the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy and its many free activities can be found at www.loudounwildlife.org.

Joe Coleman

 

Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship, Loudoun, Virginia, US Oct 22, 2016 7:45 AM – 10:45 AM

Protocol: Traveling

3.0 mile(s)

Comments:     Walked the trails around the Education Center with the bulk of our time spent on the Farmstead Loop. After the walk visited Arnold Rd where found 2 Eastern Phoebes and a Fox Squirrel sitting on a fence post.

32 species

Black Vulture  15

Turkey Vulture  10

Sharp-shinned Hawk  1

Red-shouldered Hawk  2

Red-tailed Hawk  1

Red-bellied Woodpecker  6

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker  1

Downy Woodpecker  4

Hairy Woodpecker  1

Eastern Phoebe  2

Blue Jay  10

American Crow  7

Carolina Chickadee  12

Tufted Titmouse  7

White-breasted Nuthatch  3

Brown Creeper  1

Carolina Wren  2

Ruby-crowned Kinglet  6

Eastern Bluebird  5

Hermit Thrush  2

Gray Catbird  1

Northern Mockingbird  1

European Starling  200

Cedar Waxwing  25

Yellow-rumped Warbler  5

Chipping Sparrow  2

Field Sparrow  4

White-throated Sparrow  8

Song Sparrow  6

Northern Cardinal  8

Red-winged Blackbird  15

American Goldfinch  3

 

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S32154642

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Ten people showed up for Saturday morning’s Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy bird walk at the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship in the northwestern corner of Loudoun County. While there may have been fewer species of butterflies (17) than there were birds (33), there more a lot more butterfly individuals. During the very humid walk with temps rising from a low of 67 to a high of 82, we visited portions of the Sweet Run Loop and Butterfly Alley on the south side of the center where there was a wide variety of native wildflowers in bloom with lots of butterflies nectaring on them.

The well-seen bird highlights were two White-eyed Vireos, two fledgling Chipping Sparrows, a male American Goldfinch feeding a recently fledged goldfinch, and while not uncommon, a beautiful Great Crested Flycatcher that posed for us in the open. Another poser was a Northern Rough-winged Swallow on a line over the Visitor Center parking lot. We were especially pleased to see a dozen Monarchs as well as two Monarch caterpillars (one a late instar and the other an early instar) on Common Milkweed, which was plentiful in all the different meadows, as well as about the same number of Great Spangled Fritillaries, which were highly fond of the various thistle plants. We also saw two Cicada Killers, one of which was holding a large moth as it flew in front of us.

Butterflies seen included 2 Black Swallowtails, 75 Eastern Tiger Swallowtails, 10 Spicebush Swallowtails, 2 Clouded Sulphur, 2 Orange Sulphur, 12 Eastern Tailed-Blues, 12 Great Spangled Fritillaries, 3 Pearl Crescents, 1 Mourning Cloak, 4 Red-spotted Purple, 2 Hackberry Emperors (both of which were attracted to the salt on various participants),  1 Northern Pearly-eye, 12 Monarchs (& 2 cats), 1 Silver-spotted Skipper, 1 Least Skipper, and a dozen Dun Skippers (10 of which were on one thistle plant).

American Goldfinches

American Goldfinches feeding! Photo by Diane Nastase

For a complete list of the birds see the eBird list below.

Information on the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship can be found at http://www.blueridgecenter.org.  Information on the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy and its many free activities can be found at www.loudounwildlife.org.

Joe Coleman

BRCES–Sawmill and Butterfly Alley, Loudoun, Virginia, US Aug 27, 2016 8:00 AM – 10:15 AM

Protocol: Traveling

1.7 mile(s)

Comments:     Regular monthly bird walk by Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy at the Blue Ridge Center; led by Joe Coleman & Del Sargent and assisted by Jane Yocom, Pidge Troha and others.

33 species (+1 other taxa)

Black Vulture  1

Turkey Vulture  2

Cooper’s Hawk  1

Red-tailed Hawk  1

Mourning Dove  2

Yellow-billed Cuckoo  2

Ruby-throated Hummingbird  3

Red-bellied Woodpecker  3

Downy Woodpecker  2

Eastern Wood-Pewee  2

Empidonax sp.  1

Great Crested Flycatcher  3

Eastern Kingbird  5

White-eyed Vireo  2

Red-eyed Vireo  2

Blue Jay  1

American Crow  2

Northern Rough-winged Swallow  2

Tree Swallow  3

Carolina Chickadee  2

Tufted Titmouse  1

White-breasted Nuthatch  1

Carolina Wren  2

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  3

Eastern Bluebird  6

American Robin  1

Gray Catbird  1

Brown Thrasher  3

Cedar Waxwing  15

Chipping Sparrow  2

Field Sparrow  2

Northern Cardinal  2

Indigo Bunting  3

American Goldfinch  18

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S31275492

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org/VA)

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On an extremely hot morning eight birders came for the monthly birdwalk at Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve in Loudoun County. The walk, sponsored by Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy and the Friends of Banshee Reeks, is held on the second Saturday of each month and is open to all.

Highlights of this walk included a young RED-SHOULDERED HAWK, so young that its call was mostly a squeak and a family group of RED-EYED VIREOS. The hawk perched at the parking lot to provide good views.

Cedar Waxwing

The elegant Cedar Waxwing.
Photo by Diane Nastase

A total of 40 species were recorded as follows:

Canada Goose
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Red-shouldered Hawk
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Red-headed Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker
Eastern Wood-pewee
Acadian Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Kingbird
White-eyed Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
American Crow
Fish Crow
Barn Swallow
Carolina Chickadee
White-breasted Nuthatch
Carolina Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Eastern Bluebird
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Common Yellowthroat
Eastern Towhee
Field Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Indigo Bunting
Orchard Oriole
House Finch
American Goldfinch

Dori Rhodes and Del Sargent

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Twenty-two people gathered for the regular (every 4th Sat.) bird walk at the Blue Ridge Center on a rather chilly (30 degrees) but still & sunny beautiful spring morning. While we met at the Education Center, where we saw a Chipping Sparrow along the driveway near the entrance and a couple of Eastern Phoebes, we drove to the southern side of center, where we walked part of the Sweet Run Loop and Butterfly Alley. After that a smaller group drove to Arnold Rd where we walked along the road & down to the ford on the Old Bridge Trail. The highlights of the walk were several vocal Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, some of which were bright, almost cerulean blue; several very vocal Field Sparrows; two Brown Thrashers, one of which was singing high on a tree; and a couple of Golden-crowned Kinglets. By 11, when we were wrapping up the walk, the temperature had risen into the mid-40’s and a mixed kettle of Black & Turkey Vultures passed by overheard.BRCES-Old-Bridge-south-3-26-16sm

For a complete list of the birds see the eBird list below. The walk was led by Joe Coleman, Del Sargent, Mary Ann Good, & Donna Quinn.

Information on the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship can be found at http://www.blueridgecenter.org. Information on the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy and its many free activities can be found at www.loudounwildlife.org.
Joe Coleman

Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship – MFF01, Loudoun, Virginia, US Mar 26, 2016 7:45 AM – 11:15 AM
Protocol: Traveling
3.5 mile(s): 2 miles driving & 1.5 miles walking
Comments: Loudoun Wildlife’s regular monthly bird walk. While we met at the Education Center, we drove to the southern side of center, where we walked part of the Sweet Run Loop and Butterfly Alley, and then a smaller group drove to Arnold Rd where we walked along the road & on the Old Bridge Trail. The highlights of the walk were several Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, some of which were bright blue, and several Field Sparrows.BRCES-Old-Bridge-north2-3-26-16-sm
38 species

Canada Goose X
Wood Duck 2
Black Vulture 3
Turkey Vulture 15
Red-shouldered Hawk 2
Mourning Dove 4
Red-bellied Woodpecker 5
Downy Woodpecker 4
Hairy Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker 3
Pileated Woodpecker 2
Eastern Phoebe 5
Blue Jay 7
American Crow 9
Common Raven 1
Carolina Chickadee 11
Tufted Titmouse 10
White-breasted Nuthatch 1
Carolina Wren 3
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 5 Well-seen and vocal in several different different locations. Two were bright blue-gray (almost cerulean in color in the bright morning sun) and probably males while the others were a paler blue-gray, more gray than blue; all were pale & clear chested. All were small slender active birds busy fly catching in the brush & vines on the edges of the fields & power-cut (Butterfly Alley).
Golden-crowned Kinglet 2
Eastern Bluebird 10
American Robin 4
Brown Thrasher 2
Northern Mockingbird 1
European Starling 2
Chipping Sparrow 1
Field Sparrow 7
Dark-eyed Junco 4
White-throated Sparrow 4
Song Sparrow 6
Eastern Towhee 5
Northern Cardinal 15
Red-winged Blackbird 1
Eastern Meadowlark 1
Brown-headed Cowbird 7
American Goldfinch 6
House Sparrow 1

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S28557581

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)

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nestbox-1We’ve been asked to take over monitoring a bluebird trail at Loudoun County High School and the adjacent park.

There are a total of 12 boxes which takes about 1 hour to check. Our Bluebird nestbox monitoring Coordinator, Janet Locklear, is looking for someone to take on the role of trail leader.

This will be a permanent arrangement – concurrent monitoring will take place during the school year with the environmental science students – but we’ll have primary responsibility for the trail. We know that the shop students built the boxes – so that should be another resource with the upkeep of the trail.

Monitoring training will be provided.With a team of four it results on one monitoring visit every 4 weeks from March through August.

If you would like to take on the role of trail leader or be a member of the team, please contact Janet at jlocklear@loudounwildlife.org

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On October 12th, a damp & very overcast & occasionally rainy morning, four people showed up for the regular monthly bird walk at the preserve. We decided to take the “Greenway’ through the meadows all the way to the far eastern side of the nature preserve with a side trip along the edge of the woods on the way back. In spite of the weather there were a lot of individuals though species diversity was somewhat lower than average for previous Oct. walks at Banshee Reeks due to some unusual misses such as most of the raptors we usually find there.

Taking the gravel road in front of the Visitor Center we almost immediately found the highlight of the walk, a CLAY-COLORED SPARROW. It was seen flitting back & forth over the gravel road from a patch of briars and scrub to the new David McCarthy Wildflower Meadow and was in with several other birds including a couple of Chipping and Song Sparrows. It was a small sparrow (appearing to be a bit smaller than the chippies it was with and a lot smaller than the Song Sparrows) and was an adult in non-breeding plumage. It had a clear buffy chest with the buffy flanks standing out as well as a very distinctive buffy supercillium and a brownish rump and distinctive lateral throat-stripes. Because this was a bird that none of us were familiar with we spent some time looking at it and the field guides we had with us before it disappeared further back in the brambles & scrub. A little later and a couple hundred yards further we saw it (or a second Clay-colored Sparrow) along the Greenway close to the garden. This one had the same markings and was mixed in with a larger group of Chipping and Field Sparrows as well as a few Song Sparrows and Bluebirds. It appeared to be smaller than the chippies & esp. smaller than the Field Sparrows.

Other highlights of the walk included a juvenile Northern Harrier seen right before we saw the Clay-colored and the sheer quantity of sparrows along with several Phoebes and Catbirds. Our only warblers were a couple of Palms and a Common Yellowthroat. We were also surprised to see a Goldfinch feeding a fledgling.   See below for complete eBird list of the 41 bird species seen at Banshee Reeks. The regular monthly free bird walk (every 2nd Sat) at the Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve is sponsored by the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy (www.loudounwildlife.org) and the Friends of Banshee Reeks (www.bansheereeks.org); information on both and their upcoming events can be found on their websites.

Good birding, Joe Coleman, near Bluemont, Loudoun Co

Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve – MFF08, Loudoun, US-VA Oct 12, 2013 8:00 AM – 11:10 AM Protocol: Traveling 1.75 mile(s)   41 species Canada Goose  70, Mallard  12, Turkey Vulture  2, Northern Harrier  1, Mourning Dove  8, Belted Kingfisher  1, Red-bellied Woodpecker  7, Downy Woodpecker  4, Hairy Woodpecker  1, Northern Flicker  12, Pileated Woodpecker  2, Eastern Phoebe  12, Blue Jay, American Crow, Fish Crow  2, Carolina Chickadee  8, Tufted Titmouse  6, White-breasted Nuthatch  3, Carolina Wren  6, Ruby-crowned Kinglet  4, Eastern Bluebird  20, American Robin  3, Gray Catbird  12, Brown Thrasher  1, Northern Mockingbird  20, European Starling  12, Cedar Waxwing  1, Common Yellowthroat  1, Palm Warbler  2, Eastern Towhee  5, Chipping Sparrow  6, CLAY-COLORED SPARROW 1, Field Sparrow  6, Song Sparrow  15, Swamp Sparrow  1, White-throated Sparrow  12, Northern Cardinal  15, Red-winged Blackbird, Brown-headed Cowbird  6, House Finch  2, American Goldfinch  20     One of the Goldfinches was feeding a fledgling.

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S15385132

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org/VA)

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Eighteen people enjoyed the regular 2nd Sat. of the month bird walk sponsored by the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy & the Friends of Banshee Reeks last Saturday. Prior to the Banshee walk four people spent an hour at the private Dulles Greenway Wetlands.

Except for a couple of mixed flocks the activity at Banshee Reeks was quieter than many of us had expected with 42 species there including four warbler species and two vireos, one of which was a very vocal White-eyed.

We did have one active mixed flock of migrants and residents at one spot along the Goose Creek and a couple of intriguing warblers there that managed to escape identification to our frustration.

Twenty-six species were found at the Wetlands for a total of 55 different species for the day.   The highlights at the Wetlands were 21 carefully-counted Great Egrets, a VA Rail, approx. 10 each Wood Ducks and Mallards as well as a single Black Duck, a Northern Harrier, a Pectoral Sandpiper, 2 Lesser Yellowlegs, and a small flock of Least Sandpipers.

Because the wetlands is rapidly drying out and the exposed mud hardening, there were a lot of dead carp visible. Without rain soon the wetlands will prob. lose much of its appeal to a wide variety of birds.

It was a beautiful early fall day and a great day to be outside enjoying the many beauties of nature.

See below for complete eBird list of the birds seen at Banshee Reeks and the Dulles Greenway Wetlands Mitigation Project.

As it warmed it there were 8 Monarchs, mostly females, among the several butterfly species at Banshee.

Good birding, Joe Coleman, near Bluemont, Loudoun Co

Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve: Mallard  2, Black Vulture  32, Turkey Vulture  9, Red-shouldered Hawk  4, Broad-winged Hawk  2, Red-tailed Hawk  1, Rock Pigeon  8, Mourning Dove  8, Chimney Swift  2, Belted Kingfisher  1, Red-bellied Woodpecker  4, Downy Woodpecker  2, Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted)  4, Pileated Woodpecker  3, Eastern Wood-Pewee  6, Empidonax sp.  1, Eastern Phoebe  4, White-eyed Vireo  1, Red-eyed Vireo  1, Blue Jay  8, American Crow  8, Fish Crow, Common Raven  2, Carolina Chickadee  6, Tufted Titmouse  6, White-breasted Nuthatch  6, Carolina Wren  8, Eastern Bluebird  4, Wood Thrush  1, American Robin  6, Gray Catbird  6, Northern Mockingbird  6, European Starling  12, Cedar Waxwing  8, Black-and-white Warbler  3, Common Yellowthroat  3, Magnolia Warbler  2, Black-throated Green Warbler  1, Eastern Towhee  2, Northern Cardinal  8, House Finch  5, American Goldfinch  15.

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S15170785   Dulles Greenway Wetlands Mitigation Project, Loudoun, US-VA Sep 14, 2013 6:30 AM – 7:30 AM Protocol: Traveling 0.5 mile(s) 28 species

Canada Goose  50Wood Duck  12, American Black Duck  1, Mallard  10, Great Blue Heron  2, Great Egret  21,      Green Heron  2, Northern Harrier  1, Red-shouldered Hawk  2, Virginia Rail  1, Killdeer  10, Lesser Yellowlegs  2, Least Sandpiper  8,     Pectoral Sandpiper  1, Belted Kingfisher  1, American Crow, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Carolina Wren, Eastern Bluebird  1, Gray Catbird, Northern Mockingbird  1, European Starling  10, Common Yellowthroat  3, Song Sparrow  1, Northern Cardinal, American Goldfinch  6.

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The highlight’s of the regular monthly bird walk at the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship on Sat., Aug 25, attended by 14 people, were numerous flycatchers, many unidentified, and at least eight dif. hummingbirds.

A tall dead tree on the edge of one of the meadows was populated while we watched by a number of very mobile Cedar Waxwings, both adults and juveniles; a few mimids including at least one Brown Thrasher, Catbird, and a mocker; a few dif. flycatchers, including a Great Crested,  a pewee or two, and some pretty active empidonax flycatchers. And while we tried to make at least one of the flycatchers into an Olive-sided Flycatcher, we did not succeed.

Two more mixed flocks in other edge habitat also included a variety of dif. flycatchers including at least one Traill’s, an Acadian & what were probable Acadians, a couple of Pewees: as well as numerous nuthatches, chickadees, and titmice and, in one location a well-seen Yellow-billed Cuckoo. At least three other heard cuckoos were heard in a variety of dif. locations.

Also, while there weren’t a lot of sparrow species there were numerous Chipping Sparrows and Field Sparrows of all ages, and in a couple of dif. locations, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds zipping around and occasionally perching.   Saturday morning’s bird walk was led by Joe Coleman & Del Sargent who were assisted by several good birders in the group.

Information on the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship can be found at http://www.blueridgecenter.org.   Information on the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy and its many free activities can be found at www.loudounwildlife.org.

Joe Coleman

The complete list follows:

Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship – MFF01, Loudoun, US-VA Aug 24, 2013 7:45 AM – 7:00 PM Protocol: Traveling 1.5 mile(s) Comments:     The group walked from the Education Center to the two meadows and on to the Farmstead Loop, returning partway on the Piney Spur Loop. The highlights of the walk were the many unidentified flycatchers and the numerous hummingbirds (at least 8 were seen). 43 species (+2 other taxa)

Turkey Vulture, Red-shouldered Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk  1, Rock Pigeon  1, Mourning Dove, Yellow-billed Cuckoo  4, Chimney Swift  6, Ruby-throated Hummingbird  8, Belted Kingfisher  1, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker  1, Pileated Woodpecker  3, Eastern Wood-Pewee  8, Acadian Flycatcher  1, Alder/Willow Flycatcher (Traill’s Flycatcher)  2, Empidonax sp.  5, Eastern Phoebe  2, Great Crested Flycatcher  3, Red-eyed Vireo  4, American Crow, Common Raven, Barn Swallow, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, Carolina Wren, Eastern Bluebird, American Robin, Gray Catbird, Northern Mockingbird, Brown Thrasher  2, European Starling  3, Cedar Waxwing  15, Blue-winged Warbler  1, Common Yellowthroat  4, Chipping Sparrow  10, Field Sparrow  15, Song Sparrow  2, Northern Cardinal, Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting  12, Red-winged Blackbird  1, Orchard Oriole  2, American Goldfinch.

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Many thanks to Del Sargent for sending over the latest report from the field:

Fourteen birders came to the monthly walk at Banshee Reeks sponsored by The Friends of Banshee Reeks and the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy this past weekend.  As is typical of the August walks, the birds were quiet.  The temperature was overcast and humid.  There were a few drops of rain.  A total of 30 species were noted as follows:

Great Blue Heron, Turkey Vulture, Red-shouldered Hawk, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Red Headed Woodpecker (a juvenile that was probably a transient) Downy Woodpecker Eastern Wood Pewee Acadian Flycatcher Red-eyed Vireo Blue Jay American Crow Fish Crow Carolina Chickadee White-breasted Nuthatch Blue-gray Gnatcatcher Eastern Bluebirds Wood Thrush American Robin Gray Catbird Northern Mockingbird Prairie Warbler American Redstart Common Yellowthroat Eastern Towhee Field Sparrow Northern Cardinal Blue Grosbeak American Goldfinch

Butterflies Seen:

6 Monarchs (first of the season for many). Northern Pearly Eye, Zebra Swallowtail and lots of Eastern Tiger Swallowtails

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I’m sure you’ve heard the term crowdsourcing – it’s where a company or organization gathers ideas or information by gaining contributions from a large group of people (especially from an online community) and sifts through that information for trends that bubble up.

Well this practice isn’t just for businesses – it’s being well used in the scientific community. Traditionally you would have small research groups doing a study on some topic. But in the age of the internet, we are all out there – we’re seeing birds, butterflies, amphibians, bats, all sorts of things – and by entering that data in sites like eBird or Journey North or other sites, scientists are able to turn all of us into their on the ground data gatherers.

The results have been profound and Cornell tapped into it!  They just released a report on bird migration based on sightings that literally thousands of people across the Country (yes – a lot here in Loudoun) entered into their database called eBird.

Here’s an excerpt from their press release:

Crowdsourced Data Reveal Feats of Bird Migration
for 102 Species

Sightings database yields insight into movement patterns, conservation needs

Ithaca, NY–For centuries people have marveled at the migratory abilities of birds, but new research is now putting numbers on those seasonal feats—for more than a hundred  species at a time—using data contributed by thousands of amateur bird watchers.

In all, more than 2.3 million sightings were summarized to reveal migratory routes of 102 species in North America, in a paper published August 1 in Ecology. The results provide a fascinating glimpse at an astonishing range of species: for instance, the tiny Calliope Hummingbird crosses the continent almost three times as fast as the Northern Shoveler, which outweighs it more than 300 times. They also highlight the immense scientific value to be gained from bird watchers’ sightings when they can be combined into a single large database.

But the new research is much more than a leaderboard of feathered sporting achievements. Its real value is its ability to move beyond one-off records to characterize the behavior of an entire population.

“Up to this point, migration theory has really only been examined at the individual level,” said Frank La Sorte, a research associate at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and lead author of the new study. “But in the end, you want to conserve populations—you want to maintain their migration corridors, flyways, or stopover habitats. And that’s why there’s so much potential here.”

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