May 07, 2007
"Alaska eBird will bring birding to the internet, and, more importantly, citizen science to conservationists and ornithologists," said Rich Capitan, Audubon Alaska's Education Specialist.
Photo by Ketchikan photographer Hamilton Gelhar ©2007
The addition of the Alaska portal will ensure that birds found only in Alaska, such as Red-Legged Kittiwakes, are highlighted, and that species like the Trumpeter Swan and the Red Knot are monitored in their Alaskan breeding grounds.
"Alaska eBird will help us monitor declining and at-risk birds on the Alaska WatchList," said Stan Senner, Executive Director of Audubon Alaska. "For example, we'll be watching for sightings of the Rusty Blackbird, which is just now returning to its breeding grounds in Alaska."
The Rusty Blackbird has had a dramatic population decline in recent years-90 percent over the last 40 years throughout North America. The species is poorly understood in its nesting habitat and even less understood during migration. Prior to eBird, the only two direct methods of monitoring this species were the North American Breeding Bird Survey and the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count. Scientists hope that eBird will help define the Rusty Blackbird's habitat usage and seasonal movements.
"Even novice bird-watchers can contribute to science by logging on to Alaska eBird and recording their sightings," said Capitan. "Ornithology has a long tradition of using data gathered by volunteers. eBird builds on this tradition through an accessible and fun internet tool."
The mission of Audubon Alaska is to conserve Alaska's natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats, for the benefit of current and future generations. Founded in 1977, Audubon Alaska is the state office of the National Audubon Society.
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