The National Audubon Society released a new interactive platform, called the Bird Migration Explorer, after collaborations with the Bird Genoscape Project.
Much of the collaboration for this project has been primarily focused on data that the Bird Genoscape Project has collected.
Jacob Job is the Associate Director of the Bird Genoscape Project and a Research Associate with the Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology. Additionally, Job has been the direct representative of the Bird Genoscape Project during the production of the new site.
“The Bird Migration Explorer is really about two things,” Job said. “First, it’s a way for people from across the Western Hemisphere to be connected by the birds that migrate through all of our backyards. Secondly, once people have made a connection with the birds that migrate over their yard, they can see the threats those birds face and better understand why we’re losing migratory birds at such an alarming rate.”
The Bird Migration Explorer project has a goal to use the data in an attempt to better promote the need for migratory bird conservation.
Kristen Ruegg is a researcher in the Department of Biology and co-director of the Bird Genoscape Project.
“The migratory bird platform provides a way for us to broadcast the knowledge we have gained as part of the Bird Genoscape Project to a broad audience,” said Ruegg.
The knowledge that the Bird Genoscape Project has shared centers around their work with migratory bird genetics.
Job said, “The Bird Genoscape Project contributed data from our genomics work, which has aided in the understanding of where populations of migratory birds breed and overwinter, as well as the migratory routes they take between these locations.”
More information about the genomics research that the Bird Genoscape Project is doing can be found here.
Since birds have often vast migration patterns, the information available on the Bird Migration Explorer will span across most of the continent and extend throughout the hemisphere.
While users can interact with species across this huge range, the Bird Genoscape team hopes the Migration Explorer will help them find more local information.
“The Explorer allows anyone to find their backyard on the map and see which species of birds have been tracked migrating overhead. Users can then see where else in the hemisphere those very same birds have traveled during migration. It’s a great way to build community through birds,” said Job.
The Bird Migration Explorer currently has more than 450 species of migratory birds on the platform, with information available in both English and Spanish. The Bird Genoscape Project and the National Audubon Society plan to continue building on the collaboration in developing this project.
Job said, “It’s been an honor to work for a group that has contributed valuable migratory data that has helped build the Explorer. It’s not too often that you get to take part in such an endeavor. We are doing work that has the potential to inspire people and protect birds.”