Celebrate Urban Birds is a citizen science project focused on better understanding the value of green spaces for birds. This project connects people of all ages and backgrounds to birds and the natural world through the arts and fun neighborhood activities.
Founded in 2007, Celebrate Urban Birds is a year-round project developed and launched by The Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Its primary purpose is to reach diverse urban audiences who do not already participate in science or scientific investigation.
Another of our goals is to collect high-quality data from participants that will provide us with valuable knowledge of how different environments will influence the location of birds in urban areas.
In the last 10 years, CUBs has partnered with over 13,500 community-based organizations, distributed more than 575,000 educational kits, and awarded dozens of mini-grants. Over 90% of our partner organizations work with underserved audiences. Our participants range in age from preschoolers and kindergartners to seniors, and more than 75% have little or no experience with birds. CUBs is a bilingual project and all materials and training are available in Spanish and English.
Despite our name, we are not restricted to dense city environments. Our sixteen target focal species can be found in a wide range of environments throughout North America. We send educational materials to and collect data from, Canada and Mexico, too. View our participant map to see what activity is happening around your neighborhood. Additionally, we love to hear about and support projects that involve the arts, neighborhood greening or other community habitat-creation efforts!
Karen Purcell is project leader for Celebrate Urban Birds and Principal Investigator for a National Science Foundation award focused on noise pollution, promoting well-being and connection with nature and birds, and generating data to change policies in underserved neighborhoods where noise may be interfering with human health. For the last twenty years Karen has worked on creating and supporting citizen science projects that improve equity, diversity and inclusion in the sciences.
Marilú López Fretts co-leads community-based participatory research to advance inclusion, increase diversity and create more equitable collaborations between science institutions and communities that have been historically excluded from the sciences. She believes the arts are a wonderful way to interpret and share research results and increase participation in the sciences. She is also a community advocate, artist, and photojournalist.