Research & Studies
Many Non Government Organizations (NGO) and Non-profit organizations (NPO) study and conduct research on birds, often inviting the public to get involved. Most bird research is conducted by Ornithologists, and the information gathered by the study of birds is used to gain insight into their behavior and how they relate, and adapt, to their environment.
Why should we study birds? Birds are relatively easy to study, and often open the way for further nature and scientific studies. Their behavior is interesting and they are of great importance to the ecosystem. Birds also offer an indication of the overall the health of the environment, often alerting environmentalists to potential problems.
The study of birds by the public in conjunction with scientists is referred to as citizen science. To find out more about bird research in your area, contact a local study group. The public assist in bird research projects by counting birds and recording data. This data is used by scientists to determine the state of bird populations, issues affecting birds and to work out conservation strategies.
There are many different bird studies being conducted, for example, research is being conducted into bio-acoustics, which involves the development of new techniques to record and analyze bird sounds. The study of bird eggs is referred to as oology, which involves not only the study of bird eggs, but also research into breeding habits and the study of nests. Research into bird aviation hazards has saved the lives of many birds. Studies into migratory birds has helped scientists to discover their routes and thus devise ways to conserve their stop-over points to ensure a safe migration.
A matter of concern to many people is bird flu research, especially with regard to its possible impact on humans. Bird flu or avian influenza is a dangerous viral disease affecting mostly poultry flocks. Bird flu research has revealed how it is spread and using this information scientists will be able to develop ways of keeping humans safe.
Many resources are available for people who wish to study birds for their own benefit. By watching birds in your garden you can learn much about their behavior. Carefully observe how they have adapted to living and functioning in an urban environment.
Want to get connected with other bird enthusiasts? Bird societies are great places to start. You’ll find organized groups of bird enthusiasts on every continent in the world. Some focus on seeking out rare birds. Others focus on bird conservation and scientific studies. Most will provide interesting field trips and learning opportunities.
For example, the National Audubon Society has chapters in many countries, including the USA, Belize, Panama, and Venezuela. Your local chapter can teach you about bird conservation. It’s also a great way to meet other birdwatchers in your area. Audubon’s chapters can provide bird-watching trips for all ages and skill-levels.
Or join a Christmas Bird Count. In this 24-hour census, volunteers in teams count as many birds as possible in a single day. Scientists use the results to learn more about bird populations. Over 40,000 people participate in the Western Hemisphere, from South America to Canada. It’s the largest wildlife survey ever done- and anyone with binoculars can join.
Would you like your bird-watching to help bird conservation? Project Feeder-watch, run by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, uses observations from backyard birdwatchers for their scientific study. In this program, anyone in North America can join. Birdwatchers count the numbers of birds at their backyard feeder, at specific times between November and April. They then report these numbers to the Cornell Lab. Scientists at the Lab will use the information in their study of winter bird distributions in North America.
Research and study of birds is vital to learn more about them and develop ways to ensure they are here for the enjoyment of future generations.