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Have you ever had a Bad Air Day? How bad was it? What exactly does it feel like to live with air pollution?0000017c-7f7e-d4f8-a77d-fffffe0d0000Through our partnership with the Public Insight Network, we're encouraging Cache County residents to talk about their experiences with air pollution in the valley and we're giving you a space to ask questions about air pollution. Your stories and questions will help shape our coverage of this complicated and important topic.Having a Bad Air Day? Tell us about it.Read more about the project at the Public Insight Networks' blog.

A Global Citizen Science Effort To Monitor Bird Populations

Winter bird sightings in Utah
Wikimedia Commons
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The Great Backyard Bird Count takes place every February. One of the key differences between this event and the Christmas Bird Count, is that the Great Backyard Bird Count is global and may capture some of those early migrants returning for the Spring.

“The Christmas Count is a sort of early winter snapshot and the GBBC is sort of a late winter snapshot and to a certain extent that can help you understand how well birds are surviving during the winter,” said Marshall Iliff, project leader for eBird at the Cornell lab of Ornithology.

In conjunction with the counts, Iliff says programs like eBird have made it easier to track and share information on global bird populations.  

“There’s a lot of stories over the years of how birds have been this early warning system for people, you know with DDT being one of the more famous ones," he said. "Understanding the health of birds really helps us understand how the whole ecosystem is functioning.”

Iliff says that fluctuations in populations can occur for a variety of reasons including climate variability, competition or human intervention. Global as well as local changes can be observed through these counts.

“Something neat we’ve seen with the Eurasian Collared Dove, which originally were everywhere," said Makenna Johnson, biology student and Bridgerland Audobon Society member. "Now we’re seeing this downshift in their population. Now they’re regulating. We’ve gotten that data through bird counts like this.” 

The Great Backyard Bird Count has concluded for 2018, but it's not too late to get involved. 

To learn more about the eBird project visit here. To become involved with bird monitoring and reporting visit the Great Backyard Bird Count here.