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Cornell Lab of Ornithology


Donald McCrimmon

Vice President of Academic Affairs at Cazenovia College

I have been a manager of databases or a user of data collected by citizen scientists for most of my career. As Director of the Cooperative Research Program at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, I established the Colonial Bird Register and was the steward of the North American Nest Record Card Program. I have applied some novel metrics to Christmas Bird Count data and other citizen science based data (e.g., the Texas Fish-eating bird Surveys and the Texas Colonial Waterbird Census) to assess populations of wading birds in the southeastern United States.
Currently, I am evaluating changes in species diversity in avian populations around Metropolitan New York through use of Breeding Bird Surveys. I'm also the President and a founder of Nature Network, within which member organizations can work together on research, education, public information and scientific assistance for community organizations and others working on public policies. As well, I have just completed nine species accounts for the next edition of the New York State Breeding Bird Atlas. For my "day job", I am Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Cazenovia College, where I also teach statistics and pricniples of ecology.

Using Citizen Scientists’ Data for Conservation: Two Long-Term Data Sets and Methods for Analysis

Among the many ornithological data bases compiled through the work of Citizen Scientists, the Christmas Bird Counts (CBCs) of the National Audubon Society and Breeding Bird Surveys (BBSs) of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service are of particular value. Both have been conducted for many years over broad geographic areas, thus providing useful indices of population change. I used 30 years of CBC data to assess state-wide Florida populations of six species of herons and egrets and 40 years of BBS data to assess warbler trends in the tri-state (CT, NY, NJ) metropolitan New York area. This poster details some of the results of my studies as well as some metrics I have developed to assess population trends. My results strengthen the notion that CBCs and BBSs are extremely cost-effective ways of gathering population information of significant value to successful conservation efforts.

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