Tuesday, April 24, 2012

North American Bird Phenology Program

phe-nol-o-gy, the scientific study of cyclical and seasonal natural phenomena in relation to climate, plants and animals.

The North American Bird Phenology Program houses six million Migration Observer Cards hand-written during nearly a century of record-keeping by amateur and professional field ornithologists. Today, you can help digitize the huge data file by transcribing the cards, making this wealth of information available for modern processing and analysis.

Migration data card, 1922., one of six million on file.
Visit the North American Bird Phenology Program to join this monumental effort.

The data cards hold essential information that will illuminate migration patterns and population status of birds in North America. These handwritten cards contain almost all of what was known of bird distribution and natural history from the Second World War back to the later part of the 19th century.

This effort is important. Temperate bird species are shaped, in part, by long-term climate impacts. Birds are impacted by climate at many scales, from daily to seasonal and annual, to century and millennial scales. Climate change, with habitat changes, impact modern birds in measurable ways. Bird species populations shift in numbers and seasonal movements. Modern changes in bird distribution and abundance are accelerated by rapid climate change.

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