Want to use your birding skills to advance our understanding of climate change’s impact on birds? Then Audubon’s Climate Watch is for you! Climate Watch is a community science program that monitors how North American birds are responding to climate change by enlisting volunteers to collect data on target species relevant to their region.
The Climate Watch program was born shortly after Audubon released our first climate report in 2014 and thousands of people began asking what they could do in their communities to help conserve birds. Audubon's 2019 climate change report, ‘Survival By Degrees,’ predicts up to two-thirds of North American birds being vulnerable to extinction due to climate change. In light of this report, the need to track how birds are actively responding to climate change has become essential to their conservation.
The good news is that one of Audubon’s greatest strengths is our network of volunteers who have been at the forefront of bird conservation and climate change science since the first Christmas Bird Count over 100 years ago. Climate Watch continues this tradition of large-scale community science. Our climate models project how each of the 389 vulnerable species’ habitat ranges are going to shift, but we don’t know how long it will take for birds to move to more suitable ranges or if they will move at all. That’s where you come in!
Climate Watch is different from other community science initiatives. Its specific scientific protocol makes it slightly more challenging and involved.
First, participants study their target species to make sure they are able to identify not only the bird, but also their preferred habitat.
Next, participants use an online map to choose a 10 x 10 km 'Climate Square' in an area that represents ideal habitat for their target species.
Finally, they select 12 points within their 'Climate Square' to survey - each point must be at least 200 meters away from one another.
Then you're ready to survey and collect data!
Here in Vermont, you may choose any of the following target species:
Climate Watch volunteers conduct two surveys a year, one in the winter and the second in the late spring. Our winter survey is coming up: January 15 – February 15, 2021. Participants can choose to survey at any point during this timeframe, but must complete their survey in one day.
On January 20, 5:30-6:30 PM our Americorps member and regional Climate Watch coordinator, Sarah Hooghuis, will host a 'Climate Watch 101' webinar for folks looking to get started or who have questions about the technology or scientific protocol. Click for event details and sign up.
Interested in what's been found so far? Check out the results from 2016-2020.
To learn more about the program and how to get involved, you can visit our Climate Watch page or email Sarah: