Citizen Science

Community Science (Bird Counts)

National Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count Season ran from    Thursday Dec 14th, 2023 to  Friday January 5th, 2024.

We have moved the 2023-2024 Regional Christmas Bird Count List to it’s own web page on our web pages –

 To find a count near you on an interactive map:

To download this years CBC announcement from PHAS as a PDF visit Scribd link:


Results of Christmas Bird Counts In the Past:


Link to  last year’s (2022-2023)  PHAS’s regional CBC announcement as posted on Scribd:

The Breeding Bird Survey 

is a cooperative effort between the U.S. Geological Survey’s Patuxent Wildlife Research Center and Environment Canada’s Canadian Wildlife Service to monitor the status and trends of North American bird populations. Following a rigorous protocol, BBS data are collected by thousands of dedicated participants along thousands of randomly established roadside routes throughout the continent. For more information visit:  For more info, contact Laura Hubers, SD Coordinator:

February 16-19th, 2024, Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC

This event repeats annually. This next year it is February 16th-19th 2024. In February the world comes together for the love of birds.,    or

The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is a free, fun, and easy event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of bird populations. Participants are asked to count birds for as little as 15 minutes (or as long as they wish) on one or more days of the four-day event and report their sightings online at Anyone can take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count, from beginning bird watchers to experts, and you can participate from your backyard, or anywhere in the world.


Climate Watch – Summer Season – May 15th-June 15th, 2024 Climate Watch – The summer and winter seasons repeat each year.

Climate Watch is sponsored by the National Audubon Society (NAS) & takes place during two distinct seasons—winter (January 15-February 15) and summer (May 15-June 15). Below is the alert for any season (winter or summer) .

    Like the Christmas bird count this is a chance to help create “citizen science” for birds. Climate Watch focuses on these target species: Eastern Bluebird, Mountain Bluebird, Western Bluebird, White-breasted Nuthatch, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Brown-headed Nuthatch, Pygmy Nuthatch, American Goldfinch, Lesser Goldfinch, Painted Bunting, Eastern Towhee, and Spotted Towhee.

These birds are easy to identify, have an enthusiastic constituency, and Audubon’s climate models for these species offer strong predictions for range shifts for us to test. In future years, Climate Watch may include additional target species threatened by climate change. We believe that western bluebird and painted bunting are not normally in SD. All the other birds occur in all or parts of SD.

Visit this page to see where these birds are in SD, and which are near you:

Location Climate Watch focuses on areas of predicted change for these 12 species at each location across the continent. Audubon provides volunteers with online mapping tools with a grid of 10 km x 10 km squares showing species-specific predictions for each square based on the climate models. A Climate Watch Coordinator can help select your location and survey square. If you are participating on your own, use the online maps to decide in which square to do your surveys. You will be able to see which squares are already “claimed”.

How to count Volunteers should first make sure to read through all of the materials including the full protocol manual. The Climate Watch protocol is different than any other birding program. Then using the planning done with the online maps, volunteers survey appropriate habitat for the target species within a square and conduct 12 point counts of five minutes each within one morning, then record the number and species of all birds seen or heard within 100 meters. Participants send the data to the National Audubon Society.

How data will be used  Audubon’s 2019 climate change report, ‘Survival By Degrees, – – reveals that up to two-thirds of North American birds are vulnerable to extinction due to climate change. For example, the beautiful Mountain Bluebird is vulnerable because in the vast majority of its summer range, the climate conditions that this bird needs—temperature, amount of rainfall, and other environmental factors—will shift northward and eastward. This bird may be able to move into new areas over time, or it may struggle to adapt. To test the report’s predictions, Audubon has developed Climate Watch, which aims to document species’ responses to climate change and test Audubon’s climate models by having volunteers in the field look for birds where Audubon’s climate models predict they will be in the 2020s. This information helps Audubon target our conservation work to protect birds. See the Climate Watch results page here to see our early reports and results from the data received by Climate Watch volunteers so far!

Link to the Climate-watch program on the National Audubon Society web page

Climate watch instructions for participants

Climate watch for beginners webinar, – this has much of the same info as our November meeting



Game Fish and Parks Bio Blitz 2021

This event (GFP BB) was supposed to re-occur annually, but SDGFP discontinued it after the pandemic was over, believing folks could attend face-to-face events after pandemic,  but inaturalist still has national bio-blitzes .

There is a national program on Bio-blitzes, visit inaturalist web site to learn more –

Here is information on the last one that SDGFP  had in 2021 May 22nd- June 6th, 2021

“Help South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (SDGFP) observe and identify species state-wide during SDGFP’s virtual BioBlitz from May 22nd-June 6th! A BioBlitz is an event that focuses on finding and identifying as many species as possible in a specific area over a short period of time. Please join the project and contribute to the knowledge of biodiversity across the state by posting observations on iNaturalist . Download the iNaturalist app or visit the iNaturalist website ( Create or sign into your account and join the project SD GFP BioBlitz 2021.” –  Participation is free to everyone and prizes will be awarded to top observers!

bald eagle flap its wing from nest