Go Birding With The Times This Summer


Our understanding of birds has been profoundly shaped by the work of everyday people. After all, anyone can step outside and pay attention to an untamed world swooping above.

This summer, we’re inviting readers around the world to participate in a science project we are working on with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. We’ll be gathering observations about the birds around us, filling in data gaps and giving researchers a clearer picture of biodiversity in places that birders frequent less.

It’s important work. Nearly half of all bird species worldwide are known or suspected to be in decline, and climate change could accelerate this trend. By gathering data like this, you’ll help inform decisions about the conservation and study of birds.

You don’t need to be an expert or have special equipment. For beginners, we’ll provide a series of challenges in the next few weeks aimed at getting you on the path toward contributing scientific data.

If you’re an experienced birder, we have a bit more to ask. We would like you to go beyond your usual hot spots to make observations in areas where data is sparse.

The project will run from now to September. Join us at any time, and connect with a global community of readers, scientists and researchers. Share what you’ve learned. And maybe even discover a new way of seeing nature.

To get started, tell us a little about yourself below. It should take only about two minutes, and sign-up is free.

The next step is to download Merlin or eBird, birding apps from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Click the sentence below that best describes your birding experience, and stay tuned for an email with a complete set of instructions.

Please note that Merlin and eBird are third-party apps with their own privacy policies, and The Times does not control (and is not responsible for) their content or privacy practices.

What if I’m not sure if I’m a beginner or an experienced birder?

If you’re new to birding, we strongly encourage you to stick with Merlin for the time being. If you have some experience birding, but are new to eBird, we recommend taking Cornell’s eBird Essentials course or at least watching this short video before you start submitting checklists.

Will my observations be submitted to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s database if I use Merlin Bird ID?

Observations made in Merlin are private, and do not go to Cornell’s scientific database, eBird. To submit a finding from Merlin to that database, follow the prompts in Merlin to report it in eBird.

Can I still be included in The New York Times project if I already use the Merlin or eBird app?

Of course! Continue to use the apps as you usually do. Just be sure to submit to eBird if you are an experienced birder (and add #NYT in the checklist comment).

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