Other forms of citizen science exist and myself plus two of my co-workers (who also happen to be good friends) take part in this one every spring: Horseshoe Crab Monitoring. Not a straight forward bird project, but horseshoe crab populations affect the populations of shorebirds, especially those that feed on their eggs. This is the time of year these crabs (not actually crabs) are laying their eggs making them easy to count and tag on beaches that act as their "nesting" grounds.
I have found this opportunity through NYC Audubon, but know other citizen science groups put together counts on other NY beaches as well - and not just in NYC.
Last year, I volunteered only at Plumb Beach, so this year we started our first night at Big Egg, a beach on the south shores of Broad Channel in Queens. It was a pretty amazing night...
|Before our evening of tagging, we got some yummy Pizza at New Park in Howard Beach and then did some walking at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, where the breach on the West Pond is repaired!|
|Some sleepy least sandpipers on the reeds on the West Pond. Some other good sights were little blue and tricolored heron, osprey, boat-tailed grackles, and the adorable yellow warblers.|
|As the sunset and the tide reached it highest point, we set out for monitoring. First we had to measure our paces as we sampled the beach, walking a certain number of paces and then using a square (quadrat) to set down and count any crabs that lie in that square area.|
|In quadrat sampling, if the animal does not fall in the quadrat, it does not get counted. So, their pair missed our quadrat.|
|We finally get a sample to count! 2 males, 1 female! The quadrat around them makes them countable.|
|These crabs are amazing, with their own little mini ecosystem on their backs-- with slipper (limpet) shells, barnacles, periwinkles, and worms-- to name a few.|
|We tagged 25 crabs last night!|
|The only female we tagged (leading) and her mate. We mobilized and came to them to tag them. We did not want to pick them up and possibly cause them to separate.|