In this issue: amazing views of Great Blue Herons, springtime citizen-science projects, a victorious owl, and a new way to report birds with your smartphone.

Cornell Lab eNews

April 10, 2012

amazing close-up video of two Great Blue Herons at nest
Watch this clip from our treetop nest cam as two Great Blue Herons fly gracefully in.

Front Row at the Heron Parade

Imagine climbing into the treetops to watch two Great Blue Herons as they court. In this brief clip, you can watch these graceful birds fly up to their nest, then walk along a branch directly toward the camera to begin their courtship display. This video highlight comes from the live-streaming Great Blue Heron nest cam outside our office, where the birds are now incubating five eggs. And remember to check in with our Red-tailed Hawk nest cam this weekend, when the first of the eggs should be ready to hatch. Watch the herons' amazing flight to the nest
American Robins love yards and nest around homes—they're one of many great birds for citizen-science projects. Photo by Guy Lichter

Celebrate Spring With Citizen Science: YardMap and NestWatch

With May flowers—and birds—well on their way back to us, it's a great time to think about a new season of citizen science. Our newest project, YardMap, is perfect for people who enjoy gardening and bird watching. Using simple point-and-click tools, you can map out the parts of your yard while keeping track of the birds that visit it. The data you provide help our scientists understand how neighborhoods function as bird habitat. For those who want to take a closer look at nesting robins, wrens, chickadees, swallows, and other backyard birds, NestWatch offers a structured, supportive way to help, with tons of advice on attracting nesters and finding nests: Explore YardMap and NestWatch
Black Vultures now occur in Massachusetts, in places where winter temperatures are similar to Baltimore in 1975. Photo by Liz Malyszek/CUBs

Birds Take Decades to Catch Up to Climate Change

For many animals, it's imperative to stay on the move to keep up with climate changes, but a new study finds that's not an easy or quick proposition. Vegetation and food sources move northward as temperatures warm, but even birds, which are among the most mobile of animals, take time to follow the shifts. A new study of 59 bird species tracked by the Christmas Bird Count shows it takes 35 years for many species to move far enough north for temperatures to match where they historically lived.
Read more about the study
The Snowy Owl rode a wave of publicity this winter to a victory in our Facebook tournament

Snowy Owl Wins March Migration Madness 2012

Capping off one of its best winters in memory, the Snowy Owl took top honors in March Migration Madness, our Facebook page alternative to the annual basketball tournament. In the 16-bird tournament the great white owl bested Yellow Warbler and Bald Eagle early on, then took last year's champ, Black-capped Chickadee, by surprise in the Feathered Four round. The final match with Pileated Woodpecker proved the closest of all—just 44 votes out of almost 3,500 cast gave Snowy the win. As a victory lap, let's have a look back at this video portrait we filmed over the winter: Watch Snowy Owls

New App Lets You Enter Sightings From the Field

If you have a smartphone, you can now record your sightings while you're birding—and enter them into your eBird account at the same time. The app, made by Birds in the Hand, which developed the bird-finding app BirdsEye, works for both iPhones and Android phones. The program finds your location, times your outing, and keeps a running tally of the birds you see. Adding birds is easy with a smart search—most birds can be selected just by entering three or four letters. Find out more about the Android app or the iPhone app.

Scholarship for Educators at Renowned Summer Camp

Are you an educator or do you know one who's interested in connecting students with nature? Join the Cornell Lab's Anne James-Rosenberg and seven other instructors at a weeklong educator's workshop this summer. The workshop is July 19–24 at Audubon's renowned Hog Island camp in Maine, featuring hands-on experience on the beautiful Maine coast and ideas for both science and non-science curricula. Apply by April 15 for scholarships up to $500.

Support Conservation With a Big Day Pledge!

Team Sapsucker, left to right: Andrew Farnsworth, Chris Wood, Jessie Barry, Tim Lenz, Marshall Iliff
Later this month, the expert birders on Team Sapsucker will scour south-central Texas in their quest to see more than 264 species of birds and break the North American Big Day record they set just last year. There's only one reason why they'd stay up to count birds for 24 hours straight: conservation. Every species they find translates to more money raised for bird conservation, thanks to sponsorship by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics and pledges from people like you. If you have already made a pledge, thank you! If you haven't yet, please make a pledge for bird conservation today.
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

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