Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I report, You decide

I saw this great story on CNN a few days ago. I guess there was a program in the US in which hobbyist recorded bird watching material for over 90 years. This program dated back to the 1880's and was recorded onto index cards - over 6 million of them. Currently the collection sits in the basement of the U.S. Geological Survey building in Laurel, Maryland and while they provide an unprecedented amount of information describing bird distributions, migration time and migration pathways, and how they are changing, it is worthless because it is unsearchable.
The solution, access the power of our connected society and let citizen scientists transcribe the information online. So if you are interested in being part of this project, have time to volunteer, or just want to be part of history; go online to the North American Bird Phenology Program at the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. There you can watch a short training video and began entering the information.

Of course there is the other side of the story, mainly from this picture I found online several months ago and haven't been able to use, until now.
I guess they believe bird watchers are sick pervs that need to be stopped. From their website though I found this quote "Most disturbing are the groups of bird watchers seeking vicarious sexual gratification in the woods. Oftentimes they gather in relatively large groups and, aroused by birds’ mating rituals, they get involved in sickening mating rituals of their own, without any regard for birds’ privacy." I guess certain people among the 48 million bird watchers get so turned on they end up doing it in the woods.

So I am not passing any judgements, but both groups are looking for volunteers.

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