Monday, March 28, 2011

Feather your Citizen Science Nest...with Nestwatch

Photo Courtesy: LawrieM
The last two weeks of "Spring into Citizen Science" have focused on the very popular world Birdwatching projects. This has always been a popular hobby and a perfect fit for amateur scientists to join. So we continue with one more today with some new added twists.

Nestwatch is one of the simplest projects around and a perfect way for parents and teachers to get their kids involved in science. Participants pick a popular nesting site for birds, observe when it is first inhabited for the season, and track the nest's activity as the season goes on. Over time you can watch feeding, breeding, and egg-laying activities all while helping scientists better understand  the populations of these important birds.

Admittedly the project is only interesting in watching certain common target birds.  But the best part is you don't even if these target birds aren't already nesting near you, just build one for them!  The site comes complete with instructions for building a nest specific to each species and it's a great family or school project.  And not only do the get to build the nest, but watch as birds flock to it and learn all about the life cycles of these amazing animals.

Getting Started is Easy:
That's all there is to it!  Just put up a bird nest, register it online, and watch it a few times a week.

Since this is a great one for scientists of all ages I'd love to hear your experiences.  I expect this will be quite popular so let me know about your experience in the comments below and I'll happily add them to my future posts on this topic.

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