I just discovered the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Urban Bird Studies program. Urban Bird Studies consists of a number of interesting citizen science projects observing birds and bird behaviors in cities: Pigeon Watch, Crows Count, Dove Detectives, and Gulls Galore. As you might have guessed from the names of the individual projects, the target audience for these projects appears to be kids, and they have lots of photos of school groups full of cute kids with clipboards.
Nonetheless, it looks like there’s some pretty interesting science underlying each of these projects. For example, the Gulls Galore project aims to gather data to help ornithologists understand when and in what ways adult gulls relate to subadults and juveniles. And just looking at the tally sheets and the study site habitat form help me better understand what ornithologists do.
Better yet, Cornell Lab of Ornithology understands that it’s a Good Idea to help us urban dwellers to observe and understand our urban ecosystems, through careful observations of selected species. Now I’m trying to decide if I have the time to work on the gull project — it sounds like fun.