Thursday, July 8, 2010

Gulf Oil Leak & Backyard Birds

I received this message from the Cornell Ornithology Lab.  Thought I would share it with my readers.  If you are a bird watcher you may be interested in assisting by monitoring nesting birds in your area, particularly those that migrate through the Gulf area.

Will the Gulf Oil Spill Affect Birds That Nest in Our Backyards?

NestWatch Needs Your Help
We've seen images of oiled pelicans, plovers, and other shorebirds and wading birds from areas affected by the recent spill. Species that nest on beaches and in coastal marshes, like plovers and terns, are being monitored by state wildlife officials. But many birds that nest in backyards all across North America, such as Red-winged Blackbirds and Tree Swallows, may winter in the coastal and marsh environments along the Gulf of Mexico where they could potentially be affected by the oil spill. We need your help to track nesting success of these birds in your own backyard and neighborhood.

Call for Data:
Birds passing through the Gulf region could carry contamination with them, creating an "oil shadow" of declines in bird reproduction hundreds of miles away from the coast. NestWatch accepts data for all North American birds. We are asking you to focus on these five backyard bird species and other migratory birds that may use the Gulf during some part of their annual cycle and could potentially be affected by the oil spill.

Citizen-science participants have been helping the Cornell Lab monitor the success rates of nesting birds for 45 years. Now, it’s especially critical to capture data on nesting birds to reveal the health of birds before they encounter the oil spill—as well as in the years ahead, to detect possible long-term effects.

If you would like to be part of this effort, please visit Thank you for helping the birds!

Laura Burkholder, project leader

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