Madison Audubon is excited to partner with National Audubon for a new citizen science program, Climate Watch!
Climate Watch is a program that 100% builds off of the involvement of you - the local birder. National Audubon Society produced a report predicting that hundreds of bird species will lose 50% or more of their habitat in the next 65 years due to climate change. A few species, like the one we're looking into – the Eastern Bluebird – is predicted to actually gain habitat in some places. This program is in pilot mode, and volunteers can help shape the way the program is designed.
Madison Audubon volunteers can help track climate change by conducting bluebird surveys between January 15-30, 2017. We will also host surveys during July to gather summer habitat information. The data volunteers collect are extremely important - they ground-truth the models that predict climate and habitat changes, and allow researchers to tweak the models to make them as accurate as possible. As a result, we'll have better predictions for how the climate and landscape will change, and bird species along with them.
Where: Madison Audubon chapter area (Dane, Columbia, Sauk, Iowa, Richland, Jefferson, Dodge, and Marquette counties).
You will work with us to find a designated survey location ("square") within our chapter, as well as 12 survey points within the square. A survey is completed when all 12 points have been surveyed for 5 minutes.
When: A day of the volunteer's choice between January 15-30.
Each survey requires doing 5 minute point counts in 12 nearby locations, which typically takes 3-6 hours - and should be completed by noon.
How: After identifying the location and points for survey, volunteers will conduct point counts 5 minutes a-piece, counting all of the individuals of Eastern Bluebird within 100 meters, as well as any other bird species they're able to identify. Data are submitted as eBird checklists and emailed to the Climate Change team.
What then? Climate Watch will analyze all of data you and others collected during January and plug it into their models. This spring, they will share with all of us the findings of the January effort (including how it is/isn't different from previous events' findings and where to go from there).
Banner photo by Dave Thomas, Flickr Creative Commons