I'd like to call your attention to two reports on the state of the birds. The first was released just today, 10/18/2011, by PRBO ,the world renowned Point Reyes Bird Observatory, and others. It is titled
The State of the Birds San Francisco Bay 2011and was briefly summarized in an article in the San Francisco Chronicle which is available online here The full report is available online here. You can read a summarization of the findings in the Chronicle article or read the report itself, but this post is about something else, to be disclosed below the orange gnocchi.
The second report I'd like to bring to your attention is
The State of the Birds 2011 Report on Public Lands and Waters United States of America. The Fish and Wildlife Service took the lead in generating this report, with the assistance of a host of partners. The report is available as a PDF file here.
The PRBO report acknowledges the San Francisco Bay Joint Venture, for which no greater level of detail is provided. It is composed of many organizations, and a couple that contributed to the report and work underlying it are The Audubon Canyon Ranch and The San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory. Those two organizations, in addition to PRBO itself, make great use of volunteers out there performing citizen science, doing counts and surveys and the like.
The FWS report lists The Cornell Lab of Ornithology as a participant, but in particular gives a shout out to citizen scientists in a little separately captioned block as follows:
Thank You to eBird Volunteers
Our understanding of bird distributions has greatly improved thanks
to the thousands of bird watchers who have contributed observations to
www.eBird.org. This effort is especially important for tracking seasonal
and fine-scale changes in bird distributions, which is not possible with
other bird-monitoring programs. However, even this massive observa-
tion network provides only imperfect information for assessing the
year-round status of birds on many remote public lands across the U.S.,
including Alaska, Hawai`i, and island territories. We urge birders to
submit more observations to eBird from public refuges, parks, forests,
and wilderness areas. We also urge agencies to support the submission
of current and historical records to eBird and other data archives.
You Can Do Science
I have written about eBird before in a post for lineatus' Dawn Chorus Birdblog series here. Beyond eBird, there are a variety or citizen science projects which can be located through the Cornell Lab, such as Feederwatch, starting in November More here. Other Cornell citizen science projects can be found here.
It isn't just birds, there are research projects needing volunteers, on a host of subjects, across the country, which can be ferreted out with just a little effort and ingenuity. Colleges, Universities, conservation groups and government agencies of all sorts need volunteers. (For grins, google AAVSO, especially you night owls)
We know so very little about anything and everything - go pitch in.