Citizen Science at School
Citizen Science is the participation of volunteers in scientific monitoring and research, contributing observations to better the understanding of the natural world.
There are many types of Citizen Science projects, for all interests, time and skills. The following bird-focused Citizen Science programs are ideal for school or home, and collectively benefit the participants, science and birds:
- Increase appreciation, awareness and knowledge of natural systems or local species
- Nurture a connection to ‘place’ (school, home, neighborhood, community, parks)
- Build scientific monitoring and ecological literacy skills
- Meaningful nature study to support curriculum and student inquiry
- Contribute local nature observations to real-world science for bird conservation
Project FeederWatch is a winter-long survey of birds that visit feeders at backyards, nature centers, schools, and other locales in North America. Participants identify and count the birds they see at their feeders, and submit bird observations to Project FeederWatch. Your bird counts help keep track of birds at your own feeders, and help scientists track long-term trends in bird distribution and abundance.
Season: November – April; weekly monitoring
The Christmas Bird Count for Kids (CBC4Kids), inspired by the well-loved Christmas Bird Count, engages new generations of young birders across North America. CBC4Kids events and outings are coordinated locally by naturalist or community groups, or at schools, throughout December and January. Findings are submitted through an online checklist and reported to Nature Counts and eBird Canada, where they can be used in scientific research.
Season: December – January; single observation count
The Great Backyard Bird Count is an annual four-day bird count, engaging birdwatchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of bird distribution and general abundance across the globe. Anyone can participate, from beginners to experts. You can count for as little as 15 minutes on a single day, or throughout the 4 day event. It’s free, fun, and easy – and it helps the birds!
Season: 4 days during mid-February; single observation count
Project NestWatch is a nest monitoring program that collects data on breeding birds in Canada. Participants observe and record nesting activity in their backyards, schoolyards, neighborhoods or wild spaces (nest building, eggs, young) and submit observations to the Nature Counts database. The long-term data sets help to assess the health of bird populations over time and with changes in the environment.
Season: spring- summer; weekly monitoring
Schoolyard Bird Blitz: Which birds live in your schoolyard? Join the students across Canada who are exploring their schoolyards, identifying and counting local birds, and sharing the results. The Schoolyard Bird Blitz is fun for all grades, and helps scientists monitor Canada’s birds!
Season: May; single observation count