Citizen Science


Are you interested in protecting Georgia’s birds? Become a citzen scientist! Birds are everywhere. No one scientist can track them all, but with YOUR HELP, researchers can study population fluctuations, migration patterns, changes in range, and many other facets of birds. Pooling our knowledge will give us the POWER to make smart policy decisions for birds.


How do you choose a citizen sciencce project that is right for you? Do you enjoy getting out in the field or just watching the feeder in your yard? Would you like to report your findings once a year or after every birding trip? What season of the year do you bird the most? Are you a beginner or expert? One of the following projects is sure to fit your bird watching style.



A real-time, online checklist program, eBird has revolutionized the way that the birding community reports and accesses information about birds. Launched in 2002 by the National Audubon Society and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, eBird is an online database that allows you to record the birds you see, keep track of your bird lists, explore dynamic maps and graphs, share your sightings with other birders, and contribute to science and conservation.


The Great Backyard Bird Count

Launched in 1998 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, the Great Backyard Bird Count was the first online citizen-science project to collect data on wild birds and to display results in near real-time. Now, more than 210,000 people of all ages and walks of life worldwide join the four-day count each February to create an annual snapshot of the distribution and abundance of birds. 


We invite you to participate! For at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count, February 16 to 18, 2018, simply tally the numbers and kinds of birds you see. You can count from any location, anywhere in the world, for as long as you wish!


If you’re new to the count, you must create a free online account to enter your checklists. If you already have an account, just use the same login name and password. If you have already participated in another Cornell Lab citizen-science project, you can use your existing login information, too.


Christmas Bird Count

The Christmas Bird Count was founded by the National Audubon Society in 1900, and is the longest-running citizen science survey in the world. Christmas bird counts take place in a pre-set area (“circle”) on one day between the dates of December 14th and January 5th.


2017 - 2018 Atlanta Area Christmas Bird Counts:

- Roswell, Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017. Contact: Nikki Belmonte

- Marietta, Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017. Contact: Angie Jenkins

- Peachtree City, Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017. Contact: Brock Hutchins

- Floyd County, TBD. Contact: Owen Kinney

- Atlanta, Saturday., December 30, 2017. Contact: Joy Carter

- Amicalola, TBD. Contact: Georgann Schmalz


Also, the Department of Natural Resources is hosting a Youth CBC for ages 8 to 16, on Saturday, December 9, from 8:30 AM to 3:00 PM at Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center. For more information or to register, contact Bob Sargent at


For a complete listing of Christmas Bird Count dates, locations, and coordinators, please visit the Georgia Ornithologic Society website.



NestWatch is a monitoring program focused on understanding reproductive biology in birds. This Cornell Lab of Ornithology program teaches users how to find and safely document nesting attempts and compiles that information into a database available to novices and scientists alike. Atlanta Audubon is now an official chapter of NestWatch, providing workshops on this program as well as local expertise on nesting ecology.  


Hummingbirds at Home

Hummingbirds at Home is run by the National Audubon Society. This program was developed to collect data on how hummingbirds interact with nectar sources so that we can begin to understand how hummingbirds may be impacted by changing flowering patterns and climate change. A simple mobile phone app makes your reporting a snap.


Project FeederWatch

Operated by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Project Feeder Watch is a winter-long survey of birds that visit feeders at backyards, nature centers, community areas and other locales in North America. Participants count the birds at their feeders two consecutive days every two weeks during one winter. There is a small fee to participate.


Nest Boxes for Nuthatches

The Brown-headed Nuthatch is steadily declining in Georgia. Atlanta Audubon is helping curb this trend by installing a nest box and monitoring nesting activity. Click here for more information.


Project Safe Flight Atlanta, D-bird Atlanta, and Lights Out Atlanta

Project Safe Flight Atlanta is a conservation effort to further understand the issue of bird/building collisions in the metro Atlanta area. The goal of this project is to determine what species are colliding with buildings, how many birds are affected, and what can be done to make Atlanta a more bird safe region. D-bird ATL is a webpage that allows users to submit data about birds that have collided with one’s home or workplace. Lights Out Atlanta is a voluntary program encouraging building owners and residential homeowners to turn off or reduce lighting from midnight to dawn during the peak bird migration periods.  The goal of all three programs is to create a safe path through Atlanta for migrating birds and to make the City in the Trees a Bird Friendly Community.


Breeding Bird Surveys

Local Breeding Bird Surveys are conducted by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. The Breeding Bird Survey is an international monitoring program that tracks population trends of birds in southern Canada, the U. S., and Mexico. It had been run continuously since the late 1960s. Participants commit to a least one day per year to count birds by sight or sound on a car-driven route. Participants should be experienced birders.


 Neighborhood Nestwatch

The Fernbank Museum of Natural History has teamed up with the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center to study the impacts of urbanization on birds.