Advertisement

Saskatchewan citizen scientists documenting the province’s birds

Click to play video: 'Saskatchewan citizen scientists documenting the province’s birds' Saskatchewan citizen scientists documenting the province’s birds
WATCH ABOVE: A team of local researchers are taking a decades-long initiative for no pay in hopes of helping the environment. The Saskatchewan breeding bird atlas is considered the largest citizen science project in the world. – Jul 13, 2017

Saskatchewan birdwatchers, also known as birders, are undertaking the largest citizen-science project ever attempted in the province, according to Bird Studies Canada.

As part of the Saskatchewan Breeding Bird Atlas, volunteers have started documenting the province’s 200-plus breeding bird species in hopes of measuring changes in bird dispersal and abundance.

READ MORE: Are your windows killing birds? How to prevent collisions

“The project is made in a way so all different skill levels can make contributions,” Kiel Drake, the Saskatchewan program manager for Bird Studies Canada, said.

During July and August, people are documenting sightings of nesting birds, but also examining behavioural cues.

“If you see birds bringing insects to a hole in a tree, we know they’re bringing food to nestlings,” Drake said.

Story continues below advertisement

The information is submitted to an online database, where Drake expects hundreds of thousands of observations to be filed by the end of the five-year survey period.

A long-eared owl sits in a tree in Saskatoon’s Lakewood neighbourhood.
A long-eared owl sits in a tree in Saskatoon’s Lakewood neighbourhood.

Bird atlases are conducted every 20 years to examine changes brought on by natural and man-made forces.

For example, an atlas could reveal the impact urban sprawl has on habitats surrounding cities.

READ MORE: Edmonton falcon watchers save threatened birds

The Saskatoon Nature Society conducts free field trips all summer with some members submitting their findings to the atlas.

“The best way to learn or to improve your bird identification skills is to go out with other people,” Stan Shadick, one of the society’s directors, said.

Story continues below advertisement

More than one thousand volunteers are expected to contribute to the Saskatchewan Breeding Bird Atlas.

Sponsored content