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SeaBC SeaBird Count - A chance for sailors to contribute to the scientific knowledge base

Eight long-distance birdwatching voyagers from around the world have joined together to focus their binoculars and their cameras on seabirds.  They organized and are participating in the inaugural 2011-2012 SeaBC SeaBird Count, as part of which they are collecting and photographing geo-referenced data and uploading it to scientists for study. Research projects such as migration and nesting, climate change, and beach erosion are improved and accelerated by including a larger observation and data-gathering pool.

From the frigid waters of Maine and Antarctica to the warm tropical seas, boaters have participated with vigor.

Seabirds chasing our fishing lure August 2008 at approximately 49N 30W
about half way between Nova Scotia and Ireland

The inaugural SeaBC was promoted by three long-distance cruising rallies:

  • ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers) — Canary Islands to St. Lucia (200 boats)
  • Baja Ha-Ha — San Diego , California to Cabo San Lucas (200 boats)
  • Caribbean 1500 — Hampton , Virginia to Tortola (70 boats)

Citizen science projects are experiencing explosive growth as volunteerism adapts to technology. “It’s a new generation with new tools,” states Diana Doyle, founder of the project. “We’re taking environmental social projects like Earth Day cleanups to the next level. The Face­book, Flickr, and Google generation can now participate in their area of special interest.”

 Until next year’s event, Doyle reminds boaters they can contribute coastal and off­shore bird sightings throughout the year to eBird ( She encourages boaters to post digital photos of any seabirds, noting the latitude and longitude.  Boating birders can share sightings, receive identification help, and review a list of recommended paper and digital field guides at the community page:

The SeaBC is a citizen science project organized by:

Founder & Coordinator
Diana Doyle on Semi-Local, (US) (publisher of On-the-water ChartGuides)

Advisory Board

Jeanne Socrates on Nereida (GB)
Beth Leonard on Hawk (US)
Katharine Lowrie on Lista Light (GB)
Brenda Free on Willow (US)
Wendy Clarke on Osprey (US)
Devi Sharp on Arctic Tern (US)
Yvonne Katchor on Australia 31 (AU)

Great job ladies. I can’t wait to get out there and join in the fun.  On our first ocean crossing we had several interesting avian visitors onboard.  Hopefully, we’ll meet up again.


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