National Audubon Society’s new community science program, Climate watch, which aims to document species’ responses to climate change and test Audubon’s climate models by having volunteers in the field look for birds where Audubon’s climate models predict they will be in the 2020s.
Audubon specifically designed Climate Watch to answer questions about the detectability and abundance of target species within areas projected to experience changes in climate suitability and the success of the program depends on dedicated, knowledgeable volunteers around the country.
Climate Watch takes place in the winter (January 15 – Feb 15) and in the summer breeding season (May 15 – Jun 15). We are currently gearing up for the Summer 2018 survey period starting May 15th!
There are two potential roles for people interested in volunteering with the Climate Watch project: coordinators and participants. Coordinators manage their area’s participation in Climate Watch by recruiting and training volunteers and coordinating their efforts. Participants are volunteers who complete one or more set of surveys within a 10 x 10 km Climate Watch square, which categorizes projections for each species as improving, worsening, or static in climate suitability. Within each square, participants select 12 survey points that represent the best accessible habitat for the target species, and conduct a 5-minute point count at each point.
Climate Watch focuses on target species for which our climate models have strong predictions and which have a high detectability in the field. Currently Climate Watch focuses on two groups of species: bluebirds and nuthatches. Specifically, Climate Watch participants are asked to survey for Eastern, Western, and Mountain bluebirds and/or White-breasted, Red-breasted, Brown-headed, and Pygmy nuthatches.