Bird Science

Audubon Launches Hummingbird
Citizen Science Project

New Mobile App to ID Birds & the Blooms that Feed Them

As flowers bloom earlier because of warming temperatures, the impact on hummingbirds which rely on nectar could be severe. The National Audubon Society has launched a new citizen science project to document hummingbird sightings across the country, using a free mobile app that identifies bird species as well as the plants that feed them. Launched on April 10, Hummingbirds at Home will welcome observations each spring. The project joins Audubon's Christmas Bird Count and the Great Backyard Bird Count as part of a plan to grow citizen science programs year-round, and to entice young people and non-birders to become stewards for nature.

"Every year, many hummingbird species make a remarkable journey north during springtime," said Dr. Gary Langham, Chief Scientist for Audubon, "but will their arrival time be in sync with the blossoms?" Dr. Langham says the new research will help Audubon focus its conservation efforts on where birds are most affected. Data will be shared with the Pollinator Partnership, which suggest pollinators such as birds, bees and bats "are responsible for bringing us one out of every three bites of food."

Participants can get involved year round by making recommended changes to their local hummingbird habitats, plus take steps to stem the impact of climate change. "Increasingly people are seeing the impact of climate change in their own backyards, from early blossoms to extreme weather," said Dr. Langham. "This is a fun, family-friendly citizen science project that works in the classroom or in the kitchen."

Find out more at www.hummingbirdsathome.org. See also how to create a healthy backyard and info on hummingbird feeders.

Goals of Hummingbirds at Home include:

  • Teach scientific method to a variety of audiences.
  • Engage families and classroom teachers.
  • Deliver real, scientifically valid results that will focus conservation.
  • Discover if feeders/non-native plants support hummingbirds at a level that native plants do not.
  • Pinpoint where/when hummingbirds are most vulnerable due to a scarcity of nectar resources.
  • Determine consequences of hummingbirds going extinct for pollination systems.
  • Determine consequences on hummingbirds of some flowers going extinct.