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Sparrow Swap: Using Citizen Science to Study House Sparrows

Animated woman looks at house sparrow eggs Play Video
Video courtesy of NC State

Collecting data from all over the nation, in both rural and urban environments, can be very difficult for one team to tackle. By using citizen science, researchers empower everyday people to conduct scientific experiments and pool their collective data for analysis.

Sparrow Swap is one such project. Created by our own Dr. Caren Cooper in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources, this project is a collaboration between NC State and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh. Over the past three years, 17 undergraduate interns have unpacked numerous nestbox monitors and collected data from the bird eggs. Two undergraduate interns from the College of Natural Resources recently expanded their research after receiving funds from the Research Office and took a deeper dive into the impact of Sparrow Swap.

Since 2015, the teamed has received more than 2,000 eggs from citizen scientists. Now that they have a sufficient number of eggs, the Sparrow Swap team hopes to analyze them as part of research to determine whether house sparrow eggs are an indicator of human exposure to environmental contaminants.

Keep up to date with their research and learn more on the Sparrow Swap website: