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Climate Watch is sponsored by the National Audubon Society (NAS) & will take place this spring: May 15-June 15

 Climate Watch takes place during two distinct seasons—winter (January 15-February 15) and summer (May 15-June 15). 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. 

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.   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,  
https://www.audubon.org/climate/survivalbydegrees 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  

https://www.audubon.org/climate-watch-results ) 

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

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



Climate watch instructions  for participants: