NCSU Researchers Want YOU To Help Count Urban Birds

Mar 19, 2019

North Carolina State University researchers are seeking volunteers to help conduct a bird population survey in the Triangle's urban centers.

Urban ecology graduate student Deja Perkins who is leading the Triangle Bird Count says most established bird population surveys depend on volunteers to go wherever they want and report what they see. Perkins says participants are usually white people, looking for birds in rural areas.

"We think when people choose where to go bird-watch and submit data, it creates like holes in the data, especially in urban habitat."

Perkins says the Triangle Bird Count maps establish randomly assigned observation points.

She hopes urban residents and people of color will participate in the project, and cultivate an appreciation for the wildlife and green space in nearby urban landscapes. Most established bird counts rely on reports from active birders, who aren't usually looking in developed areas, says Perkins.

"Right now, the field of wildlife biology is very white, and those are the people who are making the decisions about how management is applied, where it is applied. And at the end of the day, it isn't fair and doesn't allow all voices to be heard."

Perkins says these restoration projects often improve green spaces, which has benefits for people as well.


"I think it's really important for all people, really to notice the beauty of nature that they have in their own backyard and their communities. I think establishing that connection to nature is important because we currently have a nature deficit. And I just want people to care about the environment and where they're living, to just make it a better place for people to live."

The inaugural Triangle Bird Count will run from April 15th to May 15th. Interested participants can sign up here.