Community Science

What Is Community Science?

“Community Science is about learning, empowerment, building a constituency, as people count birds for conservation.  Audubon’s vision is to engage communities in asking questions about their environment, and to help them gather information to answer questions that they and professional biologists are asking.  By being part of the process, it is our vision that a growing number of people will become empowered to take action on behalf of places important to them and important to wildlife, giving birth to a new culture of conservation.  Local communities will conserve their own natural resources through Community Science engaged by Audubon’s people-focused conservation activities.”  - National Audubon Society

Eastside Audubon Community Science Programs

Bird Surveys

The Birds in the Balance Committee has been conducting wildlife surveys, primarily birds, for a number of years.  We conduct bird censuses in a variety of areas at the request of government agencies, communities, or businesses. The goal is provide those responsible for land management with data for making land use decisions that takes wildlife into account.

These surveys are usually done once a month for one year. A letter is sent to the applicable agency (e.g., King County Parks, Washington State Parks, various city parks, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Forest Service, etc).  If applicable, these letters include comments about what could be done to enhance or protect the habitat.

How Can I Participate?

The Birds in the Balance Committee is looking for volunteers to help conduct bird surveys in our new East King County territory.  Whether you are an experienced birder or just love birdwatching, surveys are a fun and rewarding way to contribute to the scientific database on birds.  You will receive full training on how to conduct surveys or you may start by assisting more experienced volunteers. Contact the Eastside Audubon office to learn more about upcoming bird surveys.

Survey Protocols

We follow a strict protocol in conducting bird surveys to ensure consistency in results across time and between sites. Volunteers conducting these surveys are skilled in identifying birds by both sight and sound. The data collected over an entire year gives us a good idea of the bird population in a specific area over time. Surveys done in the exact same manner in later years show how bird populations have changed. Correlating those changes with other factors, such as development or mitigation efforts that have taken place in the meantime, can point to factors that may have impacted the changes observed.

Monroe Swift Watch (September)

Swift Night Out

Join Pilchuck Audubon, Eastside Audubon, and other organizations for Swift Night Out, an annual festival held on a Saturday evening in September to celebrate the peak of the Vaux's migration in Monroe. For this year's details, visit Pilchuck Audubon’s website.

Save Our Swifts Committee

SOS was formed to study the migration of the Vaux's Swifts and to preserve their habitat. Backed by Eastside Audubon, Pilchuck Audubon, and other groups, the committee in 2010 completed a successful campaign to save the Frank Wagner Elementary chimney from demolition. SOS continues its work of conservation and education.

National Audubon (and Partner Organizations) Community Science Programs

Christmas Bird Count

Longest-running wildlife census to assess the health of bird populations. Learn more...


Web-based checklist program that provides individuals with the means to contribute to a collective memory of the birds they see. Learn more...

Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC)

Four-day count held each President’s Day weekend. Learn more...

Project FeederWatch

Winter survey of birds that visit feeders in backyards and other locations, November through early April. Learn more...

Photo: Pileated Woodpecker by Mick Thompson

Photo: Pileated Woodpecker by Mick Thompson