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Celebrating Urban Birds

Posted Friday, April 14, 2023

It Takes a Neighborhood to Do Scientific Research

Birds in the city? Absolutely. Last year a snowy owl was seen for several weeks hanging out on rooftops in downtown Pittsfield. That’s unusual, but plenty of birds make the city their home— from robins and blue jays to peregrine falcons and bald eagles, and plenty of less-common species as well.

BNRC is contributing to the collective scientific knowledge about where birds are nesting and what that tells us about changes in bird populations (an important indicator of environmental health) by working this spring with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Celebrate Urban Birds (CUB) program.

Birdwatching offers a direct and enriching connection to the nature around us, wherever we may be. Watching birds and marveling at their agility, vocalizations, plumage, interactions, and antics takes little effort, and can make anyone and everyone a citizen scientist.

That is the goal of the CUB program: to get people involved in community science around a bird-watching assignment that can be done easily by anyone anywhere, especially in urban locations. In addition to the scientific aspect of reporting observations, CUB celebrates neighborhood culture (as well as birds) by incorporating arts such as music, theater, dance, and storytelling into the program.

This year BNRC will pilot the CUB program in cooperation with selected community groups in the Berkshires. Participants will learn how to identify birds in their neighborhood, how to record their observations, and help plan and create related artistic projects. The program will culminate in a community celebration to showcase these projects, raise awareness of bird conservation, and generate excitement about contributing to a worthwhile endeavor. Stay tuned for more details!

Excited already? You can participate in Cornell’s CUB program, too. Follow their CUB Instructions.