Are you looking to get involved in a citizen science bird monitoring project? Would you like to brush up on your birding skills? Or would you simply like to experience the sights and sounds of North America’s birds? NatureInstruct’s Dendroica is a great tool to increase your birding confidence, hone your identification skills to monitor a set of target species, or simply enjoy some time with the birds!
Dendroica was developed by Environment Canada, CONABIO, and the USGS, and it’s largely geared towards individuals participating in environmental survey or bird monitoring programs. Dendroica allows a user to browse pictures and recordings of North American birds, but perhaps more relevant to citizen scientists and bird monitors, users can study a subset of target species by creating a specialized list. From these lists, users can quiz themselves to ensure they are confident with target species identification by sight and sound.
Developing and selecting a list can be tricky, so this guide takes you through the step-by-step process to create a study list and quiz yourself.
On the Dendroica home page, register for an account, log in, and select your country.
A randomly selected bird from your country will appear. You can use the species list at the right to select a species to display. This is a great feature if you’re just browsing or only interested in a single species. However, if you want to learn a specific list of species, creating a list is a convenient and efficient way to target your focus.
Create a List of Target Species
At the top center of the page, click the “Manage Lists” button. This takes you to a page with two tabs towards the bottom- select the “Modify/Create Custon Lists” tab. Under this tab, Define a New List by typing in a name for your list and selecting the “Next” button. Two boxes will appear at the bottom. Find your target species and move them from the “Excluded” to the “Included” box, using the arrows between the two boxes. When you have moved all of your target species, press the “Submit” button next to the list name. The page will process, but you will stay on the same screen. Once the page has processed, press the “Back to List Filters” button at the bottom of the page.
Select Your List
On the List Filters page, select the list you just created from the “Load Custom List” drop-down menu. Select Save and Exit. You will return to the bird identification screen, but only your target species will be listed in the box on the right, and a randomly-selected bird from your list will display on the screen. Each species is associated with multiple pictures and sound recordings; familiarize yourself with the physical and vocal attributes of each species by clicking through the pictures and sound recordings.
Make sure that your computer’s volume is turned on. At the top right of the Bird Identification page, press the “Quiz” button. A sound from one of your target species will play. Select the correct species from the list and submit your answer.
The next time you log in to Dendroica, your saved list will still be associated with your account. To quiz yourself next time, log in, go back to the Manage Lists button under the List Filters tab, and load your custom list. When you save and exit, you will be ready to select your quiz!
Good luck, and happy birding!