Become a citizen scientist
Since 2003, Mendocino Land Trust has been conducting yearly breeding bird surveys to record population trends of several species of beloved birds along the Big River estuary and Laguna marsh. With the help of a team of volunteer citizen-scientists, three surveys are performed at 30 point stations along Big River, from the shoreline all the way up to the Laguna, nine miles inland.
The reason to collect this data is not necessarily to look for rare birds or to compare the numbers of one species to another, but rather to observe population trends, over time, within each species. Tracking and recording these changes every year helps us understand not only bird populations, but how the decline or rise of a species could affect others in the environment, providing clues to better understand the intricate web of life present in our natural world. As climatic shifts begin to affect bird populations and distributions in unprecedented ways, capturing reliable data is only becoming more important.
Mendocino Land Trust’s breeding-bird surveys take place over a period of six weeks in April and May. If you already enjoy birding or want to take the next step to learn more, we invite you to join us as a citizen scientist for one (or more!) of these surveys. You don’t need to be an expert birder to sign up; in fact, Mendocino Land Trust will train you. Joining a survey team is a great way to learn how to identify birds in the field.