Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Collaborative bird observation

CONE-Welder is a Networked Tele-Robotic Observatory, where visitors use a robotic webcamera to help researchers document the presence of subtropical birds, collecting data that may help determine how birds are being affected by global warming. Established at the Welder Wildlife Refuge in South Texas, it is a collaborative research project led by the Welder Wildlife Foundation, the Smithsonian National Zoological Park, Texas A&M, UC Berkeley and the National Science Foundation.

It is set up as a game, with 902 registered players. There are competitions as to who has the most correct IDs, the best photos , the most species photographed etc.

The Networked Bird Observatory Blog has details on how to participate plus records of the birds captured by visitors. As well as rare birds for the area, such as the scissor-tailed flycatcher and the black-bellied whistling duck, site visitors have recorded an aligator, a bobcat, and a couple of snakes.

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