The Great Backyard Bird Count

By Liza Lester, ESA communications officer A brown pelican, photographed during the 2010 Great Backyard Bird Count by Bob Howdeshell, of Tennessee. Used by permission. ______________________ THIS WEEKEND, as the US celebrated President Washington’s birthday, the National Audubon Society, Bird Studies Canada, and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology were celebrating birds, with the fifteenth annual Great Backyard Bird Count. As the name...

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Launching Citizen Science Tuesdays

The gathering momentum of *citizen science*. Google searches for the phrase spiked in 2011 (scaled to the average worldwide traffic for the phrase). Credit, Google Trends.   CITIZEN science is not an entirely new concept. The Audubon Society’s popular Christmas Bird Count has run continuously for over a hundred years. When the society founded the program in 1900, the concept of the professional scientist may still have been less...

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The rising of the sun and the running of the deer

This post contributed by Liza Lester, ESA communications officer In November, Norwegians Arnoldus Schytte Blix, Lars Walløe and Lars Folkow brought us the news that running reindeer cool themselves through open-mouthed panting, as Sara Reardon explains at ScienceNOW. Their heavy winter coats are so effective at insulating the animals from arctic temperatures that they have trouble dumping excess heat through their skin. Deep cooling...

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The state of the union’s birds

A comprehensive analysis of the current condition of birds in the U.S. was released yesterday by The Nature Conservancy, USGS, the Audubon Society, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and many other non-profit groups. Dubbed The State of the Birds, the document reports that of the nation’s approximately 800 bird species, 67 are federally listed as endangered, 184 are of conservation concern and many others are declining due to...

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The 109th annual Christmas bird count

One of last week’s Nature editorials extols the 109th annual Christmas bird count, a tradition started by the National Audubon Society as an alternative to the former competitive sport of shooting birds to mark the holidays.  The survey, which takes place during a three-week interval that overlaps Christmas and New Year’s Day each year, involves birders of all ages and backgrounds from around the globe traipsing through the...

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