Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Citizen Science Opportunity

A few weeks back (Jan 23, 2010) we presented a program on owls here at the sanctuary. At the conclusion of the program we played a recording and listened for responses from Eastern Screech Owls outside the museum. Despite no owl responses that evening, everyone in attendance got a quick tutorial of the "Who's Whoo-ing in Your Backyard?" citizen science project.

A citizen scientist is anyone who volunteers a few minutes of their time to collect valuable data for any number of wildlife science projects. Citizen scientists are becoming increasingly valuable for their ability to carryout the functions of a large-scale project that a group of researchers could never accomplish on their own.

In the "Who's Whoo-ing" project, Chris Nagy from the Mianus River Gorge is enlisting and leading any willing participants (aka citizen scientists) from Westchester (NY), Putnam (NY), and Fairfield (CT) Counties to collect data on owls in their backyard using 10-minute long "call playback surveys" of Eastern Screech Owls, Barred Owls, and Great Horned Owls. 

The data will be used to find out where these owls live, if they co-occur in the same areas, and what habitats and areas they tend to live in or avoid. Everyone in urban, suburban, and rural settings is encouraged to participate as this will provide the greatest coverage and most effective data set.

For more information and how to participate in the "Who's Whoo-ing" project, please visit http://www.mianus.org/owlcall. Alternatively, you may send Chris an email at owlcall@mianus.org to sign up or request more information. The project's second annual season begins April 1, 2010. Visit the website and sign up today!

-Adam Zorn, Naturalist

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