Because birds are everywhere, it can be helpful for scientists to use birdwatchers as their eyes and ears in the field. There are many projects amateur birders can get involved in. Some of the most common ones are bird counts, nest reporting, and just reporting when you see a rarely seen species.
Potter Park Zoo partners with Michigan Audubon for our Purple Martin nesting structure. You will see this in the grassy bowl in front of the admission gate when you visit the zoo. If you have an existing purple martin house or would like to know more about them, check out this page on Michigan Audubon’s website! These aerial insectivores eat thousands of mosquitos in one summer!
Michigan Audubon’s website has several other citizen science projects that birders can get involved in too!
There are also websites and apps, such as E-Bird, where you can keep lists of the birds you see and report to a shared database for others to use. This helps others see rarely seen birds that you might have spotted. It is also a great source to do some research about the birds you are seeing.