Cornell Lab eNews, Aug. 2014


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Check out the Merlin birding app, the new mural in progress at the Lab, and much more.

Cornell Lab eNews, Aug. 2014

 

August 2014

Answer Five Quick Questions and Find Out Which Bird You Saw

Merlin Bird ID—available for iOS devices and just released for Android—is a revolutionary new app for identifying common birds of North America. What’s so revolutionary?
It asks you five simple questions about the bird you saw and then gives you a short list of the most likely possibilities
That short list is a smart list—Merlin uses data from our eBird project to tell you which birds are most likely to be seen near you, right now
It’s loaded with 2,000 top-quality photos and 1,000 songs and calls to help you confirm your ID
It’s completely free
The app now covers 400 species and is available for iOS 7 devices and Android OS4 and higher (it’s not available for Kindle, Nook, or Windows phone). It is a large download (630 MB), so please use a wifi connection when you download it. Thanks to Pennington for sponsoring the creation of the Android version.

Merlin is a great tool for beginning birders or anyone who wants to help share their love of birds. Download the free app now.
 

Do you know the name of these handsome hoverers? Click through to find out on our Citizen Science blog. Photo by Walter Nussbaumer.
Which Species Is This?

Some birds are so small and fast that we usually just see them as blurs—and in such cases we can be grateful for fantastic photos that freeze the action. This is the smallest bird in North America and a resident of the West, where the males perform staggering aerial feats when displaying to females. Do you know what species this is? Check your guess and learn more.

Does this quiz have you humming for more? On our new Citizen Science blog you can explore a map of where they occur, try to match speeds with their wingbeats, and get a feel for how much nectar they drink in a day.

Keep an eye on the Citizen Science blog for a new theme each month—in August look for tips and facts about berries in your yard.

Downy Woodpecker by Yvonne via Birdshare.
How Do You Keep Birds Safe Around Windows?

Last month the Minnesota Vikings’ new stadium design came under criticism for the hazards its huge glass exterior poses to birds. The debate highlighted a real problem: collisions with windows cause hundreds of millions of bird deaths per year—and sadly homes are cumulatively more dangerous than high-rises. But new techniques have made it possible to create glass that birds can see and avoid while remaining crystal-clear for humans. Read about the solution in Living Bird magazine.

Red-backed Fairywren by Tom Tarrant via Creative Commons.
The Summer of Fairywrens

In the sweltering outback of Australia’s Northern Territory lives a tiny, long-tailed bird with an oversized voice: the Red-backed Fairywren. Adult males are a mixture of glistening black and flaming red, and they have complicated social lives that inspire endless ecological questions. A small group of undergraduates delved deeper with their own summer research projects, learning basic field skills and exploring larger questions. See the full story and video on our blog.

Semipalmated Sandpipers and Dunlin by Nate Zalik via Birdshare.
Three Great Bird ID Webinar Series in Time for Fall Migration

Now don’t get us wrong, there’s plenty of summer left—but fall migration is on its way. In fact, some shorebirds are on their way south right now. And they’ll soon be followed by rivers of raptors, waterfowl, and more. To get you ready, we’ve got three sets of in-depth bird ID webinars taught by Dr. Kevin McGowan.

The webinars will be offered on Monday nights at 7 p.m. and again at 9 p.m. Each webinar series consists of five parts given on successive Mondays:

Identifying Shorebirds: August 18–September 15
Identifying Raptors: October 6–November 3
Identifying Waterfowl: November 10–December 8

Each one-hour session consists of instruction, quizzes, and question-and-answer. The cost is $12.99 or $9.99 for Cornell Lab members. Learn more and register for a webinar.
The Hawk Cam’s Extra Camera: Cornell’s Christine Bogdanowicz spends her spare time as a “Birder on the Ground” taking photos of “our” Red-tailed Hawks when they’re away from the Bird Cams. Read more.
Who’s Got the Funkiest Nest? See the winners in our recent Funky Nests in Funky Places challenge.
Find Out Where Outside Cats Really Go: Cornell Lab researcher Caren Cooper reports on an enlightening new citizen-science project that will track your cat for you.
Have You Ever Seen a Snowy Owl in Summer? In this video, travel to the Alaskan tundra to check on Snowy Owl chicks with researcher Denver Holt.
Take a Road Trip: Our Upcoming Bird Festivals and Events webpage makes it easy to plan your next birding destination. You can look through listings by calendar or on a map, so you can start planning your road trip right from the page.
Help Us Create the Most Comprehensive Bird Mural Ever Painted

Artist Jane Kim will paint a 4,000-square-foot mural in our visitor center, but she needs your help.
Every day, we find inspiration in the 10,000 species of birds on our planet. To celebrate this beautiful diversity, we’ve commissioned a mural to cover an entire wall of our visitor center. Titled “From So Simple a Beginning” and spanning 375 million years, the mural will trace evolution from fish through dinosaurs to birds. It will feature species from all 231 extant bird families painted life-size against a map of the world.

It’s an ambitious project, and we need your help to complete it. So today we’re kicking off a crowdfunding campaign. You can pledge a gift and in return receive downloadable images, Cornell Lab gear, or special-edition prints of Jane Kim’s artwork. Please support the mural.
Find Us on Facebook: If you’re on Facebook but don’t follow us yet—please join our community of 292,000 fans for a daily dose of bird quizzes, gorgeous videos, fascinating articles, and tons of photos.

Attention Educators: Check Out These Resources

Get Great Ideas From Other Educators via BirdSleuth’s Action Map. The interactive graphic is a great place to browse classroom projects and post your own—like this amazing (and amazingly cute) video of elementary school kids impersonating their favorite birds.

Summer Webinar in August. Our five-part webinar series will help you learn about birds and how to use Cornell Lab resources in your educational program. Participants who take all five have the option to earn 1 CEU credit for $10. We’ll be offering all five in one convenient summer session on August 21 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern time. Get the details.

Discount on Habitat Connections Kit. With seven lessons and hands-on supplies, this kit will help 4th through 8th grade teachers meet science standards related to ecosystems and human impacts. Save 15% by entering promotion code Connect15. Learn more.
 
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a membership institution dedicated to interpreting and conserving the earth’s biological diversity through research, education, and citizen science focused on birds. Visit the Cornell Lab’s website at http://www.birds.cornell.edu.

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