Spring has sprung! It’s time to monitor Ospreys and Sandhill and Whooping Cranes. Here’s how you can participate.
Ospreys are returning to the Northern Hemisphere. They’re repairing nests, reconnecting with their mates, and laying eggs. Project OspreyWatch, sponsored by the Center for Conservation Biology, relies on citizen scientists to track how well the birds are doing. You can help.
Volunteers collect data in a number of areas — when adults arrive back at the nest, when eggs are laid, the number of young produced, and when they fledge — and they document unsuccessful nests, too. In 2014, more than 1,800 volunteers and researchers monitored 1,538 nests on three continents. To join them, you’ll need to create an account.
Midwest Crane Count
This fun event, sponsored by the International Crane Foundation, has been held in the upper Midwest in mid-April for almost four decades. Participants travel to local wetlands and favorite birding haunts to look for two of our favorite birds — Sandhill Crane and Whooping Crane.
Last year, more than 2,000 volunteer counters recorded 14,561 Sandhill Cranes and more than 160 other bird species in over 90 counties in six states — Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. They also spotted 13 Whooping Cranes, all of which were recorded in Wisconsin. Scientists use the data to track population trends and discover areas being colonized by the cranes.
The 2015 count will take place on Saturday, April 18, from 5:30 am to 7:30 am CDT. To join the fun, you first need contact your county coordinator, who will assign you a site and send instructions.