Birding for Science - Spring/Summer Opportunities

nighttime surveys ©Scott Anderson
You don't have to be a scientist or researcher to participate in scientific studies! Even casual observations of the natural world can reveal species declines or previously unknown populations. In fact, many important, large scale studies would not be possible without data from the public! The NC Birding Trail has a new page of opportunities for novice to advanced birders and birdwatchers to collect data that will help scientists better understand bird populations.

Some upcoming projects:

1. Rusty Blackbird Blitz (Starting in March) - visit NCBT sites or other locations during the month of March and record any sightings of Rusty Blackbirds in eBird. - Some driving required; learn to identify 1 species; time commitment varies 

2. Nightjar Surveys (May - July) - Travel a pre-determined route at night, listening for chuck-will's-widow, eastern whip-poor-will, and common nighthawks. Don't be intimidated, there's plenty of resources to learn their calls! - Some driving required at night; learn to identify 3 species; ~6 hrs

3. NestWatch (Spring-Summer) - Find and record the success or failure of nests in your neighborhood, or nearby park. Nests could be in a nestbox or not! - No driving required; backyard species ID; ~2-3 hrs per year 

Stay tuned for other opportunities!


The Great Backyard Bird Count This Weekend!


The easiest birding event to participate in happens this weekend, February 13-16. The Great Backyard Bird Count is an event sponsored by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. All you have to do to participate is watch for birds in your yard (or anywhere for that matter) for at least 15 minutes on one or more days this weekend then enter your data on their website or via the BirdLog AppCheck out their website for full details.

Not an expert? No problem! Bird-watchers of any experience level are encouraged to participate. The GBBC website provides resources for identifying birds, including some of the trickier, easy to mis-identify species. You could also use the Merlin Bird ID App.

If you don't have time this weekend, but are itching to watch bird for science, check out our list of annual citizen science efforts in the state.



Tennessee's New Birding Trails Website

North Carolina is not the only state with a trail dedicated to spreading the word about birdwatching opportunities. Florida and Texas were pioneers, and many of our neighboring states have trails, including Virginia, Georgia, and now Tennessee.

The Tennessee Birding Trail includes all sorts of resources for bird-watching enthusiasts of all interest levels. Sites can be searched by region, species, seasons, or keywords. They also feature a beautiful gallery of birds submitted by photography buffs. For the species-counter, there's a list of recently-seen rare birds from eBird.

Like what you see from Tennessee? What do you love about the North Carolina website (check out our site map here)? Any new features you'd like to see? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, or via email.


Audubon Birds & Climate Change Report

Last year, The Audubon Society released a report highlighting the potential effects of climate change on bird species using the most up-to-date modeling. The study identified 314 species that are either Climate Threatened (may lose over 50% of its current range by 2080) or Climate Endangered (may lose over 50% of its current range by 2050). Many of these species occur in North Carolina. The study includes interactive maps that visualize the estimated range shifts of these species (see this example for the American Bittern).

Data collected through two popular, long-term citizen science projects, the Christmas Bird Count and the Breeding Bird Survey were combined with greenhouse gas emissions scenarios to estimate range shifts of birds due to a warming climate. While the ground-breaking study is a first attempt, it represents the best information available quantifying the effect of our changing climate on birds.

You can learn more about the study and the climate threatened and climate endangered birds on their website.


Invitation to Participate in an NC Parks Public Recreation Survey

The N. C. Division of Parks and Recreation invites you to participate in a statewide survey designed to assess the state’s outdoor recreation  preferences and needs for the next 5 years.  The results of the survey will help federal, state and local agencies to provide outdoor recreation opportunities as well as protect and restore natural resources.

The short survey is available online through May 30 at the division’s website (