Saving seabirds with citizen science: Science Fair creates connections

Loleta, Ca., (KIEM)- Saturday, the Humboldt Bay Wildlife Refuge hosted a citizen’s science fair. The event celebrates and encourages the work of amateur scientists, and gives hobbyists the opportunity to link up with organizations that may need their help gathering data.

One such project, the Seabird Protection Network, is sponsored by the Bureau of Land Management. The network helps to protect sea bird populations by educating the public, and preventing damage to habitats and animals alike.

We are looking for citizen scientists to do some human disturbance monitoring.” Interpretive Program Specialist Leisyka Parrott explained, “People can get a little too close to sea birds and make them uncomfortable. I think a lot of people don’t realize it. It’s unintentional. They may be on their kayak and see a bird and get a little bit closer to check it out, but that can make a bird fledge from its nest and it might loose it’s egg.”

She also talked about the potential for pilots to disrupt flocks of birds. Even careless hiking practices can be harmful. Monitoring these disruptions is the first step in preventing them, and for that lots of eyes are needed.

“I think citizen science is a great way to get people out looking, paying attention to the natural world in a meaningful way.” Parrott said.

To volunteer at the Sea Bird Protection Network: http://seabirdprotectionnetwork.org/

Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge: https://www.fws.gov/refuge/humboldt_bay/