SPNI enlists public’s help in building bird observation database

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The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel is calling upon the country’s bird enthusiasts to take part in a national effort to build an avian database.


The new project, named Citizen Science is Fun, asks members of the public to help monitor and track the nation’s birds and post their findings in a database.


Interested birding amateurs and other volunteers can log in to a portal on SPNI’s Israeli Ornithological Center’s website.


The purpose of the project, according to SPNI, is to recruit members of the public to become part of nature conservation efforts.


“It is impossible not to recognize that birds and bird-watching have become a popular hobby around the world,” said Dan Alon, director of the Israel Ornithological Center. “Young and old, women and men, leave the house just to watch birds, sometimes staying in their nearby surroundings and sometimes even traveling as far as to other continents.”


For the past five months, a pilot version of the program has been underway, during which about 15 observations per day are recorded. Roughly 150 people are already logging into the portal to record the location of an observation, time, type of bird and number of birds observed, SPNI said.


Once a month, bird-watching staff from SPNI conduct training sessions around the country for people interested in bird observation. The ultimate goal is to recruit thousands of people around the country, and to generate a database that is as extensive and varied as possible, SPNI explained. Last weekend, training activities were held in the Hermon region.


“The Israel Ornithological Center of SPNI invests a lot of resources in monitoring and tracking birds in Israel, and in recent years civilian monitoring has [become] an important source of information,” Alon said.


SPNI will be launching the project at a bird-preservation seminar at Tel Aviv University on Thursday

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