Date: 5/4/18 8:13 am
From: Peter O Dunn <pdunn...>
Subject: [wisb] Citizen Science study of food supply for aerial insectivores
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.

If you want to participate in this very easy and potentially important
project, please visit this site (
to get more instructions and a datasheet.

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

Thanks for your assistance,

Peter Dunn

Hallmann, C.A., Sorg, M., Jongejans, E., Siepel, H., Hofland, N.,
Schwan, H., Stenmans, W., Müller, A., Sumser, H., Hörren, T., Goulson,
D. and de Kroon, H. (2017). More than 75 percent decline over 27 years
in total flying insect biomass in protected areas
/PLoS One/, *12 (10),* e0185809.

Møller, A. P. 2013. Long-term trends in wind speed, insect abundance and
ecology of an insectivorous bird
Ecosphere 4(1), article 6.

Peter Dunn
Dist. Professor
Dept of Biological Sciences
Univ. of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
PO Box 413
Milwaukee, WI 53201

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