SOUTH SHORE YMCA NATURAL SCIENCE CENTER

At First Light

Posted: Jan. 15, 2014

KODAK Digital Still Camera

We are not just hanging around this winter, waiting for the snow to melt and the temperature to rise. Not by far! Our citizen scientists are hard at work on their Midwinter Bird Survey. The process is simple: four spots, ten minutes each at the break of day three times in January, around the 1st, 15th and 30th.

Such adventures make for some peaceful moments, like when the sun breaks latitudinally through the bare trees as they day begins. The results so far have been as expected – chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, woodpeckers, overflying crows, etc. – but it’s projects like this one that help us learn more about our natural world every day. For instance, take the story of the Tufted Titmouse in Massachusetts. They only arrived as winter lingerers in 1959, when four were found on Christmas Bird Counts. Today, we can’t imagine our feeders without Tufted Titmice in winter. What will be the next discovery? We won’t know without projects like this one.

Throughout the year, we are also taking on:

*Salamander Coverboard Surveys in spring and fall
*Jacobs Pond Waterfowl Migration Surveys in spring and fall
*NestWatch surveys in the spring
*Breeding Bird Circles in June
*Lost Ladybug searches during summer camp

And who knows what else! The beauty of citizen science projects rests in their flexibility. Have something you want to learn more about? Come study it with us!