On Friday, the Great Backyard Bird Count, a massive citizen science project run by Audubon and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, begins.
Perhaps in the spirit of the Great Backyard Bird Count, there is a lot of citizen science news this week. In Wisconsin, citizen volunteers are doing acoustical bat surveys with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Read about it in the Kenosha News.
No cases of raccoon rabies have been identified in the Canadian province of Quebec for the third straight year, and citizen surveillance helped, the Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre reports. Citizen reports of potential raccoon rabies cases increased by 18 percent, while visits to the provincial rabies control website increased by 25 percent, the blog says. The blog includes a link to the province’s press release, but the press release is in French.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and the Society for Conservation of Bighorn Sheep (SCBS) are looking for volunteers to help biologists with a bighorn sheep survey in March. The survey has been conducted since 1979. They are asking volunteers to attend an orientation session the evening before the survey. Read the CDFW press release here.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has both been asking for and getting valuable help from citizen volunteers. One recent request is for volunteers on Michigan’s lower peninsula to report any sightings or tracks of wolves from February 11 through March 8. Read the press release here.
The department is also asking for more volunteers to join its annual frog and toad survey, conducted in spring. This year will be the 18th annual survey. Read the frog and toad survey press release here.
Michigan DNR may be confident asking for all this help, because it has already gotten help from citizens. Earlier this month it gave a Partners in Conservation award to a 32-year-old dairy farmer who gathered and distributed information about an outbreak of epizootic hemorrhagic disease in deer in two counties. Read the press release here.
Photo: Wolf track, courtesy of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.