Citizen science data at work: Sorting out the natural and human factors driving the U.S. distribution of the exotic Monk Parakeet.

monk parakeets

Did you participate in a Christmas Bird Count this year? If so, you should be proud to be a part of the longest running citizen science project in the world. Data from this project has been used in over 200 scientific studies and featured prominently in 57 studies on biodiversity according to Elinore Theobald of the University of Washington and lead author of the study “Global Change and local solutions: Tapping the unrealized potential of citizen science for biodiversity research.” One of the more recent studies examined the distribution of the exotic Monk Parakeet in the United States. The Monk Parakeet is a native of South America and popular pet species that has established feral populations in many areas of the U.S. and Europe. In this study, Amélie Davis and co-authors use data from the Christmas Bird Count as well as Project Feeder Watch, the Great Backyard Bird Count, and the eBird Program to demonstrate that natural factors such as climate and forest cover determine Monk Parakeet distribution in the South, but in the northern U.S., parakeet distribution was correlated with human factors such as housing density and distance to nearest large city. You can read the full text of the open access article here: Substitutable habitats? The biophysical and anthropogenic drivers of an exotic bird’s distribution.

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Citizen science data at work: Sorting out the natural and human factors driving the U.S. distribution of the exotic Monk Parakeet.

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