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Planet Earth

Soaring North: Monitoring and Protecting Migrating Song and Shore Birds

Protect bird migrations in honor of Global Big Day.

Citizen Science Salon iconCitizen Science SalonBy Bob HirshonMay 8, 2024 11:00 PM
Global Big Day
Image in honor of Global Big Day.


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Shorebirds fly thousands of miles each year along ancient and largely unknown migratory routes called flyways. But their populations are crashing amidst climate change and urban development. Global Big Day, on May 11, is your opportunity to get involved during this momentous global migration and help scientists understand how bird populations are changing.

Participate in the projects we’ve curated for you below and watch the extraordinary film Flyways, produced by SciStarter partner HHMI Tangled Bank Studios, to celebrate and learn more about this remarkable annual migration!

But first…THANK YOU to all who participated in the One Million Acts of Science campaign during Citizen Science Month in April. We’ll share a full report soon, but here are some preliminary outcomes:

  • 459,028 participants from around the world logged One Million Acts of Science, one week early on April 24!

  • More than 1,300 social media posts used the #OneMillionActsofScience hashtag and were viewed more than 1.9 million times;

  • People engaged with 736 projects listed on SciStarter;

  • More than 16,000 people engaged in online events hosted by SciStarter in April;

  • Girl Scouts analyzed more than 1,200 online images to help accelerate Alzheimer’s research;

  • 1,230 Verizon employees participated in featured citizen science projects;

  • 100+ volunteers in Nigeria helped vulnerable flood communities by filling in gaps via Open Map Data;

  • 42,323 Acts were tallied during the SciStarter-Zooniverse 12-hour Palooza on April 15, helping to advance research on animals, space, health, and the environment;

  • Close to 80,000 reports on weather/precipitation were submitted through CoRoRaHS;

  • 97% of survey respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they would recommend the citizen science event/activity that they participated in to others;

  • and…Coty Briley submitted the One Millionth Act! Hear from Coty in

    this edition of the SciStarter Podcast!

Thank you!

The SciStarter Team

Use eBird for Global Big Day!

Credit: eBird/Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology

One eighth of the world’s bird species are threatened with extinction, and shore birds are most at risk, according to the most recent State of the World’s Birds report. The Global Big Day 24-hour species survey on May 11 provides the data scientists need to monitor species health. Learn how you can get involved!

Share ornithological observations!

Location: Global

Experience Flyways with Friends

Credit: Tangled Bank Studios/HHMI

Just like the amazing birds they research, meet scientists traveling the world to unlock the mysteries of migration. Our partners at HHMI Tangled Bank Studios worked hard to produce this inspiring film with you in mind. Why not celebrate Global Big Day with a watch party and enjoy it with your friends?

Watch online!

Location: Online

Keep skies dark for the birds!

Credit: Globe at Night, DMSP/NASA

Light pollution hampers birds’ abilities to navigate at night. Consider limiting the use of outdoor lights, especially during the spring and fall migrations. And join Globe at Night to help scientists measure light pollution! You’ll learn to identify a target constellation and report how many of its stars you can see from your location.

Gaze up at the night sky!

Location: Global

Listen Up For Birds!

Credit: Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology

The Merlin Bird ID app is the sharp-eared assistant you didn’t know you needed! Activate it on your mobile device and it will immediately begin identifying and recording all the bird calls around you. Select one of the birds it identified and you can play audio samples of the species to confirm the identification. Invaluable for novices and experts alike.

Hear what you’re missing!

Location: Global

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