Although most members of DFO are not scientists by profession, the field research in DFO sponsored and supported programs makes every one of us a scientist in the pastime we love -- hence our name, Denver Field Ornithologists. This science-while-birding can be as general and automatic as filing club field trip lists to the Cornell Lab of Ornithologists' global eBird database, or as distinct and focused as organized seasonal research to count, track and understand the raptors the migrate through our area.
DFO's participation in the Dinosaur Ridge Hawk Watch, at the base of the foothills west of Denver, enlists volunteers to help count hawks, eagles, falcons, vultures and other raptors that migrate along the Front Range in spring. From atop the ridge (an iconic, fossil-rich segment of the Dakota Hogback geological formation), participants help count and identify charismatic birds of prey daily between March 1 and May 14. Birders of all skill levels are welcome, for an hour, a day, or more.
DFO supports the efforts of the National Audubon Society to count birds in their winter territory through the annual Christmas Bird Count. Click the link to learn more about this opportunity.
Finally, DFO's Colonial Waterbirds Project, which monitored several local nesting colonies of large wading and diving birds beginning in 2017, is now an "individual science" project. Members are encouraged to observe and record spring and summer mating, nesting and fledging activity in their eBird checklists whenever birding at four locations: Denver City Park (Duck Lake), Washington Park (Grasmere Lake), Belmar Park (Kountze Lake) and Wheat Ridge Greenbelt (Tabor Lake). This data will inform future research on the health and success of urban breeding colonies of species popular with birders and the public alike: Double-crested Cormorant, Snowy Egret, Great Blue Heron and Black-crowned Night Heron. COMING SOON: an update Power Point about how to conduct observations for this vital effort.