It’s time to watch for Ospreys and count cranes

4/6/2015 | 0

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Ospreys in Terrenceville, Newfoundland, by Brad James.

Spring has sprung! It’s time to monitor Ospreys and Sandhill and Whooping Cranes. Here’s how you can participate.

Project OspreyWatch

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.

Register for an OspreyWatch account.

Osprey basics.

View Osprey cams in the Chesapeake Bay, Massachusetts, Montana, and Oregon.

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.

See the 2014 Midwest Crane Count totals (PDF).

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.

View a list of county coordinators (PDF).

Guidelines from Wisconsin eBird for reporting sensitive species (PDF).

Sandhill Cranes at Bosque del Apache NWR, New Mexico, by Brad Starry.

Sandhill Cranes at Bosque del Apache NWR, New Mexico, by Brad Starry.

28 citizen-science projects you can join in April and May.

Read about fun events taking place in April.