A Chance to Involve your Students in Citizen Science

A post just came through the KS-Bird list about an interesting Cornell Citizen science program:

The Rusty Blackbird Blitz

Rusty Blackbirds are in decline and Kansas is part of their winter range.  This “blitz”/survey is set up for the first two weeks of Feb.  Check out the link for protocols.  If you decide to get out and count blackbirds don’t just report to eBird;  share your experience here on the KABT BioBlog.

An excerpt from the Cornell eBird website:

January 11, 2010
Participate in the Second Annual Rusty Blackbird Blitz! Singing male Rusty Blackbird, Alaska. Photo by David Shaw (www.wildimagephoto.com).

Populations of Rusty Blackbirds are crashing! Their numbers have plummeted by as much as 88-98% over the last few decades, according to data gathered between 1966 and 2006 for the North American Breeding Bird Survey and Christmas Bird Count. A species that was once considered to be abundant is rapidly disappearing before our eyes. Your observations can help save this species by arming scientists with critical information about its ecology. The Rusty Blackbird Working Group has developed the Rusty Blackbird Blitz, a winter survey whose goal is to count Rusty Blackbirds range-wide just prior to spring migration.  From 30 January – 15 February, search for Rusty Blackbirds in your area and report your observations to eBird.