Citizen Science

Do you love birds?  Would you like to help scientists expand data collection efforts to answer key questions about birds in the Midwest and, in turn have greater acces to information about birds?  Then take a moment to look through the list of active citizen science programs and consier volunteering on behalf of birds today!


  • Beginner's Guide to Bird Watching:  Handy tips, links for more information, and everything you need to know to ger started in bird watching. (Thanks for this great resource, Sara!)
  • Christmas Bird Count: The longest running Citizen Science survey in the world, Christmas Bird Count provides critical data on population trends. Tens of thousands of participants know that it is also a lot of fun.  
  • eBird: A real-time, online checklist program, eBird has revolutionized the way that the birding community reports and accesses information about birds. Launched in 2002 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, eBird provides rich data sources for basic information on bird abundance and distribution at a variety of spatial and temporal scales.
  • FeederWatchProject FeederWatch is a winter-long survey of birds that visit feeders at backyards, nature centers, community areas, and other locales in North America. FeederWatchers periodically count the birds they see at their feeders from November through early April and send their counts to Project FeederWatch. FeederWatch data help scientists track broadscale movements of winter bird populations and long-term trends in bird distribution and abundance.
  • Great Backyard Bird CountLaunched in 1998 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, the Great Backyard Bird Count was the first online citizen-science project to collect data on wild birds and to display results in near real-time. Since then, more than 100,000 people of all ages and walks of life have joined the four-day count each February to create an annual snapshot of the distribution and abundance of birds.
  • Minnesota Loon Monitoring Program: The Minnesota Loon Monitoring Program (MLMP) is a long-term project of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' Nongame Wildlife Program (DNR). With the generous assistance of hundreds of volunteer observers, the DNR annually gathers information about common loon numbers on more than 600 lakes distributed among six regions, or "index areas" of the state. Volunteers visit each lake for one morning during a ten-day period in early July, count the number of adult and juvenile loons seen, and report these observations to the DNR for data management and analysis. Now in its twentieth year, the MLMP provides the DNR with the ability to detect significant changes in the adult population and reproductive success of the state's common loons, and to anticipate any problems that could jeopardize the future of our state bird.
  • NestWatch: NestWatch is a nationwide monitoring program designed to track status and trends in the reproductive biology of birds, including when nesting occurs, number of eggs laid, how many eggs hatch, and how many hatchlings survive. Our database is intended to be used to study the current condition of breeding bird populations and how they may be changing over time as a result of climate change, habitat degradation and loss, expansion of urban areas, and the introduction of non-native plants and animals.
  • Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II: The Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II is a comprehensive field survey that documents the distribution and abundance of birds breeding in an area. The information will allow us to see changes in bird populations since the last survey and to measure future changes. These insights help us identify the conservation needs of breeding birds and try to meet those needs.

**To add your Citizen Science opportunity to this list, send an email to with the following information: Project Name, Project Website, and Brief Project Description.