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"The WildLab" for birders
Old 07-03-2011, 11:56 AM   #1
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"The WildLab" for birders

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This board has more than a few bird watchers, right?

I'm fascinated by crowd-sourcing research projects-- have any of you participated in WildLab's population counts? Is it a useful resource for you, or just a birder's version of Facebook?

I can see this being extended to other wildlife counts, like our local whale population survey.
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Old 07-03-2011, 12:05 PM   #2
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I'm a casual birder and I've considered participating in local counts. This sounds like a more passive way of helping out. Will have to look into it.

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This board has more than a few bird watchers, right?
Like Star Trek geeks now prefer Trekker to Trekkie, I believe bird geeks prefer Birders to Bird Watchers.
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Old 07-03-2011, 12:59 PM   #3
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We have 4 feeders of various types in our yard:
  • Black oil sunflower seeds, which most birds seem to enjoy
  • Thistle (niger) seeds, which the finches and a few others love
  • Another thistle feeder optimized for upside-down feeding (only goldfinches can do this)
  • Suet feeder Oct-May, replaced by hummingbird feeder June-Sept

We get a wide variety of birds here (nearly 30 species that I've noticed), and there is great pleasure in watching them. About $400 a year goes to the bird feed, and that gets chalked up to "Entertainment expenses."

But I don't really see the value in these sorts of bird counts. The birds we see around here are not the same varieties seen by our friends 25 miles away who have a similar feeder setup.
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Old 07-03-2011, 01:43 PM   #4
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(snip)But I don't really see the value in these sorts of bird counts. The birds we see around here are not the same varieties seen by our friends 25 miles away who have a similar feeder setup.
The counts would give some idea of which species are expanding their range and which are losing ground, which could then guide conservation efforts by individuals and organizations alike. That's the first thing that occurs to me--the surveys may be valuable in other ways too.
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Old 07-03-2011, 02:34 PM   #5
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But I don't really see the value in these sorts of bird counts. The birds we see around here are not the same varieties seen by our friends 25 miles away who have a similar feeder setup.
I think that's the beauty of this type of data collection-- right now there's no value to it, and nobody will pay for it. (Luckily our tax dollars aren't expected to support it either.) But after a few years (and a lot of volunteers) who knows what the data mining will turn up.

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Like Star Trek geeks now prefer Trekker to Trekkie, I believe bird geeks prefer Birders to Bird Watchers.
I've been waiting for Alan to chime in on the British interpretation...
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Old 07-03-2011, 03:41 PM   #6
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This is sad YTD beer and wine $239, wildbirds $486. I need a life.
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Old 07-03-2011, 04:18 PM   #7
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This is sad YTD beer and wine $239, wildbirds $486. I need a life.
I got 50 lbs. of black oil seed and 50 lbs. of thistle seed for just under $75 on my last trip to the store. Pretty reasonable, I think.

I make my own suet cakes in the winter, so the seeds are the only real expense.
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Old 07-03-2011, 04:33 PM   #8
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I feed Hummers 10+ species all year, so lots of sugar. Grape jelly for the Orioles 3 different species, April- Nov. Blue Grosbeaks, Black-headed Grosbeaks, Lesser Goldfinches, currently. My yard list is up to 126 species, not to shabby.
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Old 07-03-2011, 10:08 PM   #9
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I've been waiting for Alan to chime in on the British interpretation...

As Alan is on vacation ..... it is Ornithologist, and he's probably still got his YOC badge like me!!!

Alternative is twitcher for a fanatical rare bird chaser

And now the cloak goes back on.................
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Old 07-04-2011, 06:51 AM   #10
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Synchronicity - I just walked back down the drive at my weekend house where I had stepped out to look at three immature bald eagles perched in a dead tree. I will have to see if anyone is counting them. Took a look - they have Wildlab birds and Wildlab marine but, unfortunately no Wildlab mammals. I am almost certain that I spotted a Coyote here last week. At first I thought it was a fox but the gangly legs and head were wrong. I looked up Coyotes in Google images and that looks like my critter. I was surprised to see one on the tidal Potomac.
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