For the Birds: Environmental Effects on Population

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In this activity, learners will investigate how shorebirds and seabirds are extremely vulnerable to changes in their environment, whether human-induced or otherwise. Learners will use data collected in the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) conducted by the Audubon Society and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to calculate the population size of a shorebird or seabird in their state and throughout the US. Learners will compare findings, consider factors for population changes, and discuss the accuracy of the GBBC data.

Quick Guide

  • Preparation Time: Under 5 minutes
  • Learning Time: 1 to 2 hours
  • Estimated materials cost: free
  • Age Range: Ages 14 - 18
  • Language: English

Materials List (per student)


Informal Categories

  • Animals
  • Citizen Science
  • Nature and Environment


  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Animals
    • Ecology
      • Ecosystems
      • Populations
      • Human Impact
  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
      • Data Representation
    • Number and Operations
  • The Nature of Science
    • Science and Society
      • Public Policy
    • The Scientific Process
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
  • The Nature of Technology
    • Technology and Society
      • Technology and the Environment

To use this activity learners need to

  • see
  • see color
  • read
  • use keyboard
  • use mouse
  • touch

Learning styles supported

  • Uses STEM to solve real-world problems
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities

Components that are part of this resource

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of


Laura Rose


Virginia Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program,

Funding sources

  • NOAA Sea Grant
  • National Marine Educators Association



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