Action: Monitor Wildlife

Monitoring birds for aesthetic value rather than for food became popular in the late 18th century and the study of birds became prevalent in Britain during the Victorian Era. Today people can join a global community of citizen scientists, and take part in environmental monitoring. Theses citizen science movements have been proven to assist in identifying environmental threats to bird populations, and can even help assess outcomes to environmental management initiatives.  

Monitoring wildlife has gone far beyond birding, and there are many different types of citizen science activities SAM communities and residents can become involved in, either provincially , nationally and even globally!  Check out our list of opportunities below  and get involved!

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Bird observations
- International
- Year round 

- App available

eBird is the world’s largest biodiversity-related citizen science project, with more than 100 million bird sightings contributed each year by eBirders around the world. A collaborative enterprise with hundreds of partner organizations, thousands of regional experts, and hundreds of thousands of users, eBird is managed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

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Wildlife observations
- International

- Year round
- App available

Every observation can contribute to biodiversity science, from the rarest butterfly to the most common backyard weed. We share your findings with scientific data repositories like the Global Biodiversity Information Facility to help scientists find and use your data. All you have to do is observe.For extra fun check out the Seek app by iNaturalist


Great Back Yard Bird Count

- Bird observations
- North America
- Annual in February

Launched in 1998 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, the Great Backyard Bird Count was the first online citizen-science project to collect data on wild birds and to display results in near real-time. Now, more than 160,000 people of all ages and walks of life worldwide join the four-day count each February to create an annual snapshot of the distribution and abundance of birds. 
The GBBC has also teamed up with Bird Studies Canada and eBird to manage the bird count. 

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Provincial Government Programs

- Wildlife observations
- Provincial

- Year round

The Department of Fisheries and Land resources would like to hear from you about exotic species and several species at risk! Send your sightings including the date, specific location and a photo (if available) to 

1) Bats - call the toll free bat line at  1-833-434-BATS (2287)
i) Sick or dead bats        ii) Bat overwintering sites (hibernacula)     (Remember to never touch bats with bare hands)

2) Ladybugs


3) Species at Risk  
 Including Short-eared Owl, Wolverine and other species listed under the NL Endangered Species Act

4) Exotic Species 


Christmas Bird Count

- Bird observations

- North America 

- December 14 - January 5

All Christmas Bird Counts are conducted between December 14 to January 5, inclusive dates, each season. Your local count will occur on one day between those dates. The Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is a long-standing program of the National Audubon Society, with over 100 years of community science involvement. It is an early-winter bird census, where thousands of volunteers across the U.S., Canada, and many countries in the Western Hemisphere go out over a 24-hour period on one calendar day to count birds. 


- Bird observations

- Canada/North America

- Spring/Summer

By gathering information as a volunteer Citizen Scientist, you can help us understand how changes in our landscape are affecting wild bird habitats and populations, and inform decisions about conservation priorities.

Our Citizen Science programs offer engaging hands-on learning opportunities, create meaningful connections with the natural world, and foster heightened levels of environmental responsibility in new generations of scientists, leaders, and mentors.

1) Maritimes Marsh Monitoring Program

2) Nocturnal Owl Survey

3) Swifts and Swallows

4) Canadian Lakes Loon Survey

5) Project Feeder Watch


- Frog, Plant, Worm observations

- Canada/North America

- Year round- App Available 

NatureWatch is your home page for fun, easy-to-use environmental monitoring programs that encourage you to learn about the environment while gathering the information that scientists need to monitor and protect it. A Canadian program run by the University of Ottawa.

1) Frog Watch


2) Plant Watch

3) Worm Watch

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- Fungi & Lichen

- Various locations

- Annually in September

- Field collection w/ experts

Foray Newfoundland and Labrador is a non-profit organization conducting amateur mushroom forays in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. The Foray's mission is to organize enjoyable and informative amateur mushroom forays in Newfoundland and Labrador and disseminate the knowledge gained. 

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Local Facebook Groups

- Wildlife observations

- Newfoundland & Labrador

- Year round

- App available (Facebook)

There are several local facebook groups that post images and sightings of wildlife in Newfoundland and Labrador. They are a great place to get started in learning about what types of wildlife are present here in the province. 

1) NL Birdwatching Group

2) Insects of Newfoundland

3) Wildflowers of NL

4) Newfoundland Wildlife

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Bumble Bee Watch
- Bees & pollinators
- North America

- Year round
- App available

Bumble Bee Watch is a collaborative effort to track and conserve North America’s bumble bees. This citizen science project allows for individuals to: Upload photos of bumble bees to start a virtual bumble bee collection; Help researchers determine the status and conservation needs of bumble bees; Help locate rare or endangered populations of bumble bees; Learn about bumble bees, their ecology, and ongoing conservation efforts; and Connect with other citizen scientists.

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Butterfly & moth observations

- International

- Year round 

e-Butterfly is maximizing the utility and accessibility of the vast numbers of butterfly observations, photographs, and collections made each year by recreational and professional butterfly enthusiasts. With your help, we will amass one of the largest and fastest growing insect data resources to inform our understanding of ecological and agricultural systems in North America. 

Bat Monitoring

Three species of bats have been confirmed to date on the island of Newfoundland and one in Labrador. These are the Little Brown Bat, the Northern Long-eared Bat, and the Hoary Bat. The Little Brown Bat and the Northern Long-eared Bat are known to breed in the province. The Little Brown Bat is the most common on the island and is the only species known to live in Labrador. It can be a challenge to locate, observe, identify and census bats because of their nocturnal and secretive nature. When you can find them, they are likely to be flying around, zigzagging and diving in the dark of the night.

Nearly 40% of North American bat species are threatened or endangered. Around the world, many more bat populations are declining at alarming rates. In Newfoundland and Labrador, our bat populations have been affected by the White-nose Syndrome (WNS). It is caused by a fungus and was first detected in a New York cave in 2006. Mortality rates often exceed 90% in infected hibernating sites. There is no known cure of WNS. 

Bat Myth #1

Bats can actually see very well in the day and the night

Bats are Blind

Bat Myth #2

Bats do not become entangled in human hair deliberately, though they may dive for flying insects near a person's head

Bats Get tangled in hair

Bat Myth #3

The bats of NL do not feed on blood. The little brown bat is a harmless insect eater. Most bats feed on insects or fruit.

Bats Drink Blood


Birder: The acceptable term used to describe the person who seriously pursues the hobby of birding. May be professional or amateur (Birding, Volume 1, No. 2).

Birding: A hobby in which individuals enjoy the challenge of bird study, listing, or other general activities involving bird life (Birding, Volume 1, No. 2).

Bird-watcher: A rather ambiguous term used to describe the person who watches birds for any reason at all, and should not be used to refer to the serious birder (Birding, Volume 1, No. 2).

Citizen Science: Scientific work undertaken by members of the general public, often in collaboration with or under the direction of professional scientists and scientific institutions (Oxford English Dictionary (OED) June 2014)

Citizen Scientist: a scientist whose work is characterized by a sense of responsibility to serve the best interests of the wider community (now rare); or a member of the general public who engages in scientific work, often in collaboration with or under the direction of professional scientists and scientific institutions; an amateur scientist (Oxford English Dictionary (OED) June 2014)

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