How do citizens help monitor bird populations?
Over the years, we have learned a great deal about the status and
habits of Maryland breeding birds through the efforts of researchers
and volunteer birdwatchers. A major contributor to our knowledge is
the Maryland Breeding Bird Atlas project, a statewide effort by
volunteers to document what species breed here and where. Data from
these efforts will provide much needed information on changes in
distribution and occurrence.
Birdwatchers of all ages and skills also help document the habits of
Maryland birds through bird counts and other “citizen science”
projects. These include:
National Audubon Society Christmas Bird
Count, now in its 107th year;
Breeding Bird Survey of the U.S.
Geological Survey Patuxent Wildlife Research Center (since 1966);
C&O Canal Mid-winter Count;
BirdBlitz data collection to help
identify Important Bird Areas (Audubon Maryland-D.C.);
Society statewide fall and May counts; and,
“e-Bird”, a new
real-time online checklist program that also allows you to view and
explore bird data.
How else can you help Maryland’s bird populations?
state lands and nature centers host filed trips and activities that
contribute to bird conservation and you can learn more by taking
advantage of these opportunities. Or just enjoy them in your own
backyard or nearby public green space.
Maryland’s Wildlife Diversity Conservation Plan identifies 141 bird
species as those of greatest conservation need, including 127
species that are state-rare and 8 that are globally-rare (www.dnr.maryland.gov/wildlife/divplan_wdcp.asp).
Our stewardship – by addressing threats such as climate change,
habitat loss, deer over-browsing, shoreline development,
contamination and even predation by feral cats – will allow us to
enjoy and care for our diverse Maryland bird life for generations to
Photo of Dickcissel, courtesy of Mark Hoffman
- Gwen Brewer
Science Program Manager
Maryland Department of Natural Resources
For more information:
Birding Maryland Today
Birding in Maryland: Flying,
Feathered & Fascinating
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