I was in Ohio during an annual eBird effort to record as many birds as possible, the Global Big Day, during which 20,270 people submitted 54,263 checklists detailing 6,653 species sightings. Strycker is a fan. "eBird was enormously helpful during my big year because it will filter birds that have been seen in a given region," he says. "That was much more helpful than going through an entire field guide and trying to memorize every single possibility."There are plenty of competitive birders. One category -- "twitchers" or "speed birders" -- race to see unusual species. They'll drive for hours or even hop on a plane.
Connecticut birder Tim Thompson keeps track of birds in a notebook, but then logs the species on the eBird service so other birders can benefit from his sightings, eBird fans the competitive flames with regional leaderboard rankings, Thompson, a birder I meet at the Biggest Week, is proud to have risen to the No, 7 spot among Connecticut eBirders, He doesn't like phones much, and he records his observations in a dog-eared, weatherbeaten notebook, no bad days iphone case But when the day is done, he enters it all into eBird, he tells me as we stalk a Lincoln's sparrow through the underbrush of Magee Marsh..
"I love eBird because it tells my life story," Thompson says. eBird tells scientists a story, too, aiding conservation, ecology, biology and other research. One example: The Nature Conservancy used eBird data to figure out when shorebirds migrate through California's once-marshy Central Valley. Based on that data, the conservancy paid rice farmers to time their field-flooding operations to help the birds, a cheaper conservation alternative than buying the land outright. In the 1820s and 1830s, James Audubon traveled a young United States to paint hundreds of species of birds. Clockwise from upper left: Barn owl, great blue heron, brown pelican, American white pelican.
The birds like the soggy fields, "On average, shorebird species richness was more than three times greater, and average shorebird density was five times greater, on enrolled fields than [on] unenrolled fields," according to the project's research results, eBird data also has detected two migration patterns among orchard orioles, Wood says, Some leave the northeast part of North America in August, but others no bad days iphone case in the central part of the continent linger later, Click here to see more Road Trip adventures..
"We're able to see these populations operating almost independently. They probably are never able to breed with each other," Wood says in his excited-scientist voice. "We're seeing the process of speciation possibly taking place."Studying birds isn't just about academic curiosity. It's about the survival of nature itself. Birds are, so to speak, a canary in the coal mine, showing where humans have gone too far. "We live on a planet where the population is approaching 10 billion people," Wood says. "We're trying to find ways where people and biodiversity can coexist."Plus -- there's that thrill of the chase.
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