Although birds are all around us, our scientific knowledge of their habitats and numbers can be surprisingly limited. Oregon State University, in collaboration with Cornell University’s eBird database, seeks to change that by asking bird enthusiasts to participate in Oregon 2020. Oregon 2020 is an effort to get a foundation of information about Oregon’s 500-plus species of birds, especially their abundance and distribution.
Participants can learn how to gather and log data via online tutorials, and can utilize that knowledge in county “bird blitzes,” events where many citizen scientists canvas an area together. The bird blitzes are already underway—Polk County’s first blitz convened June 21 to 23.
There’s a confounding dearth of information about Oregon’s birds—especially compared to other states—and new data can be surprising: for instance, there was concern that the Oregon vesper sparrow was becoming rare. Turns out, the population is doing just fine—there simply hadn’t been enough surveyors to establish an accurate population size before. If you would like to join the cause, visit www.Oregon2020.com.
By Mica Habarad