Enter the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, where citizen scientists from all over the world (without Ph.Ds or white lab coats) can enter data about their bird sightings and even discover new species. “Collecting the observations of everyday birders for scientific use is a hallmark of the Lab. Bird watchers of all ages and skill levels help gather the data needed to capture the big picture about the distribution and abundance of birds. Approximately 200,000 people participate in the Lab’s projects. The eBird database allows birders to track any of the earth’s 10,005 bird species to a single scientific database. So far, observations on 8,650 species from 200 countries have been recorded.” The observations of citizen scientists have helped document the declines of some species, the range expansions of others, and the spread of avian diseases. The observations of birders help the Cornell Lab study birds in cities, suburbs, and forests and help answer questions about how proximity to humans, pollution, climate change, and loss of habitat affect different species.

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Enter the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, where citizen scientists from all over the world (without Ph.Ds or white lab coats) can enter data about their bird sightings and even discover new species. “Collecting the observations of everyday birders for scientific use is a hallmark of the Lab. Bird watchers...