Community Science Projects

Although most members of DFO are not scientists by profession, the field research in our signature club outings 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 birds around us. 

Double-crested Cormorant pair at nest.Some programs, like our Spring and Fall Bird Counts and the Christmas Bird Count, tally and inventory all species at specific locations each season to assist avian researchers in better undersanding bird population health and trends.  

Other efforts are more species specific. Our Colonial Waterbirds Project, begun in 2017, observes several urban and suburban Denver communities of large wading and diving birds -- Double-crested Cormorants, Snowy Egrets, Great Blue Herons and Black-crowned Night-Herons -- as they nest, hatch and fledge their young among us in spring and summer. 

DFO's participation in Hawk Watch at Dinosaur Ridge, on the edge 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 early May. Birders of all skill levels are welcome, for an hour, a day, or more. Peak migration occurs in mid-April. 

To learn more about each of these varied and rewarding opportunities, click on the links below.