Bird watchers help study wildfire smoke impact on avian life

Volunteers in Project Phoenix are observing birds to help scientists understand the effects of wildfire smoke on bird behavior and health.

Kylie Mohr reports for High Country News.


In short:

  • Project Phoenix, led by UCLA and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, involves over 300 volunteers observing birds to study their response to wildfire smoke.
  • Wildfire smoke may force birds to alter migration routes, impacting their health and reproduction.
  • The initiative is expanding from California to Oregon and Washington, with data collection running through November.

Key quote:

“There’s an urgency here to figure out more about what’s going on and how we can help birds in this tumultuous time.”

— Olivia Sanderfoot, Project Phoenix lead.

Why this matters:

By tracking bird populations, Project Phoenix aids scientific research and raises awareness about the broader implications of wildfire smoke on ecosystems. The insights gained could inform conservation strategies and public health policies, ensuring both avian and human communities can better navigate the smoky realities of our changing climate.

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