Citizen science is for the birds this winter

Male Pine Grosbeak at feeder at the Algonquin Park Visitor Centre (Photo Credit: Mike Burrell).

Many people flock to Ontario Parks every year, binoculars and field guide in hand, to view the amazing world of birds.  From the Northern Hawk Owl at Sleeping Giant to the Tufted Titmouse at The Pinery, Ontario Parks across the province offer opportunities to see both northern and southern species.  Whether you are a “bird nerd” or a beginner, here are some of the ways that your hobby can contribute to science this season:

 

 

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Three Redpolls, two Gray Jays and a Chickadee in a Pine tree

Now in its 114th year, the Christmas Bird Count is a bird census that occurs across North America between December 14 and January 5.  The count is administered by the National Audubon Society who partners with Bird Studies Canada.  The North American count is made up of regional counts, each run over a 24-hour period and within a 24 kilometre diameter circle.  These counts are conducted by volunteer birders who set out, binoculars in hand, to track species and numbers of birds either seen or heard throughout the day.  The submitted results contribute to a data set more than a century old that provides information on the long-term health of bird populations across the continent.

The noisy Blue Jay is often seen (and heard) on Christmas Bird Counts. (Photo Credit: Mike Burrell)

There are counts going on across the province, but here are details for a few of the counts occurring in Ontario Parks:

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