[Tweeters] Mark my Bird = citizen science + learning about BIRDS!

Devorah the Ornithologist birdologist at gmail.com
Fri Oct 23 03:04:27 PDT 2015

hello everyone,

do you love birds? ok, i know that's a dumb question to ask here, but how
about participating in citizen science? yes? ok, great! and how do you feel
about video games? ... ?

I ask because there is a fun online "game" where citizen scientists,
birders, and anyone who enjoys video games can participate in a project
that seeks to understand how bird bird evolved their amazing variety of
shapes. it's called "Mark My Bird". based at the university of sheffield
(where i gave a talk last week!), this site is crammed with incredibly
detailed 3D scans of bird beaks that you can examine and spin or otherwise
move around in space on your computer. you can contribute to this project
"landmarking" the beak scans. 'landmarking' in this case involves placing
points on features of the bill that are common to all specimens. the
researchers then use your landmarks to mathematically describe the shape of
bills so that they can compare and test how they differ among species.

as you work your way through the beaks, you win "badges" and each month, a
random drawing is held to give away a prize. this month's prize is a silver
bird beak.

i enjoy this online project because i can devote part of my video game
playing time to actually doing something useful by (1) learning a little
about birds and by (2) contributing to SCIENCE!

if nothing else, check it out, try a couple practice beaks and perhaps
stick around to help out, too?

here's the website:


you can also ask questions and follow the site on facebook, or, of you're
like me, you can tweet your progress too! (i like tweeting pics of all my
badges, heh!)


Devorah Bennu, PhD
birdologist at gmail.com
*sunt lacrimae rerum et mentem mortalia tangunt. *[Virgil, Aeneid]
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