Date: 5/4/18 8:13 am From: Peter O Dunn <pdunn...> Subject: [wisb] Citizen Science study of food supply for aerial insectivores
Hi As you may know, birds that eat aerial insects (swifts, swallows and nighthawks, among others) are declining in many areas, and one hypothesis for their decline is that their food supply is also declining. There is evidence that insects are declining sharply in Europe (see references below), but we don't know much about what is happening in North America. My colleague in Europe, Anders Møller, is starting a project to look at the abundance of flying insects using a very simple technique that allows you to help collect more data. You simply count the number of insects killed on your windshield! So while you are driving around Wisconsin looking for birds, you can collect data that can help us understand why these birds are declining.
Note that /_zero_/ dead insects is also useful information, so don't forget to record times when you have no dead insects on your windshield. You can also do this just driving to work every day; multiple samples along the same route will be valuable to look at seasonal changes. The instructions also ask for the numbers of aerial insectivores that you see; please substitute North American species as appropriate (purple martins instead of house martins). Also, it is probably better to record insects along relatively short routes (<20 miles) rather than long trips across the state, so he can look for local patterns.