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Male Hooded Merganser

A male hooded merganser spreads its wings and raises its hood

A male hooded merganser spreads its wings and raises its hood. This image was submitted to the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), a citizen science project led by Cornell University ornithology and the National Audubon Society, with Canadian partner Bird Studies Canada and sponsorship from Wild Birds Unlimited. The project is supported in part by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The GBBC is an annual four-day event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are as well as help researchers better understand birds and their habits.

NSF supports citizen science projects because they advance discovery and promote learning. Much of the data included in the Department of Interior's annual "State of the Birds" report for 2011 originated from Cornell's citizen science programs. The report helps public agencies identify significant conservation opportunities in various habitats.

To learn more about other citizen science projects supported by NSF, see the Discovery story Novel Answer to That Perennial "Earth Day" Question: "What Can I Do to Help?" To learn more about the GBBC visit the program's website a href=''>Here. (Date of Image: February 2007)

Credit: James Hendrickson

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