Are you interested in gardening, wildlife, plants, the outdoors, birds, weather, ecology or climate change? Then you might enjoy being a “citizen scientist” and helping with this project. You will become an amateur phenologist, studying the plant and animal life cycle events as they occur around you. This involves many different aspects of nature that are affected by temperature and weather fluctuations, including bird migrations, first leaves and buds and the hatching of those pesky bugs.
Project Budburst has a web site with all the tools and information you’ll need to get started. I first heard about Project Budburst from Science Daily. Since it is for the States, I started looking for Canadian projects and came upon a site called Citizen Science Projects. Who knew? What a fun idea. They also had a link for a Canadian project, called Plant Watch. These all sound like interesting and fun projects for our family. We spent most of this morning watching the squirrels and all the birds. We’ve even had out the The Peterson Field Guide to Western Birds. Your entertainment alters a bit when you live in the country.
So far we’ve identified the Evening Grosbeaks, Pine Grosbeaks, Red Polls, Blue Jays and Magpies. There was even a Prairie Chicken in the tree today. We are trying to differentiate many different kinds of smaller birds — sparrows, wrens and probably finches. We know we have the Black Capped Chickadee and Boreal Chickadees, but it looks like there are Mountain Chickadees too. Identification is difficult through double-paned windows that are covered with steam and little hand and nose prints on one side and the effects of snow and rain on the other.
This little guy wasn’t too concerned with his audience.