SEATTLE , Wash. -- To the legions of amateur bird-watchers making observations across North America, the National Audubon Society and the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology say: Nest your birds on the Web.
For the first time, citizen scientists and professionals alike have a fully interactive place to go -- BirdSource -- to share data on which birds are where and what they are doing there. The World Wide Web site opened for business today (Feb. 14) with demonstrations at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Seattle.
Like a fledgling bird testing its wings, BirdSource is beginning modestly. About 500 "penguins" (online bird-watching guinea pigs) from the 10,000-member citizen-science program FeederWatch began reporting observations from feeders at homes and schools throughout the United States and Canada to http://birdsource.cornell.edu/pfw.htm. Eventually BirdSource, which is based at a national supercomputer center, the Cornell Theory Center in Ithaca, N.Y., will handle much more.
"You will be able to go to BirdSource and ask, 'Where were the Dark-eyed Juncoes in December 1934?' and instantly see a map displaying reported sightings of that species," said John W. Fitzpatrick, the Louis Agassiz Fuertes Director of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. "You will be able to 'watch' as millions of migrating hawks from North America funnel through Central America on their way to South America. You will come home from a day of birding, logon to BirdSource, and share your checklist with thousands of other amateur birders and with professional ornithologists who need your data."
And if feeder-watchers aren't sure whether they've spotted a Northern Flicker or a Varied Thrush, for example, BirdSource will offer up detailed pictures and recorded calls from those and dozens of other birds, drawing on sound archives at the Ornithology Lab's renowned Library of N
Contact: Roger Segelken
Cornell University News Service