Desert Avicaching with the Sonoran Joint Venture

By Team eBird January 25, 2018
Black-throated Sparrow Amphispiza bilineata

Want a fun new birding game? If you’ll be in the southwestern US at any point between February 1-June 15, 2018, check out Desert Avicaching. Explore specific sites to help answer questions about distribution of desert species, get your name on the Avicaching leaderboard, and have a shot a finding cool birds and get some fun prizes! Learn how to participate.

Geocaching is a global outdoor activity where people go to specific sites around the world searching for small treasures. Avicaching is eBird + Geocaching: searching out specific locations to locate as many birds as possible. With Avicaching, the birds are the treasures.

Sound like fun? It is! But it’s not just a game. The data collected by Avicachers fills in gaps in knowledge and help guide management and conservation decisions. Birders go to designated eBird hotspots, follow specific bird observation protocols, and submit their checklists. The result? Avicachers get a fun new game to play while birding, and eBird collects valuable data to help guide future bird monitoring and conservation efforts.

The Sonoran Joint Venture (SJV) is a binational partnership for bird and habitat conservation in the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico. Part of our region includes the Mojave and Colorado deserts of southern California, an area that faces pressure from alternative energy development. While alternative energy, like solar, holds great potential, it also has impacts on birds and habitat. Both the conservation community and the alternative energy community have a need to understand these impacts. The SJV and our partners want to know more about how and where these efforts affect birds. In addition to the impacts to wildlife from the footprint of the installations themselves, migratory birds passing through the area on their way north or south are likely impacted. But we don’t have a solid understanding of which species, nor of the scope of the impacts. This makes it challenging to decide where and how to best spend mitigation dollars from developers. The Sonoran Joint Venture, Point Blue Conservation Science, and Great Basin Bird Observatory want to use eBird to change this. Learn how to be a part of it.