I’m heading to Phoenix for a few days to meet with the Science Debate organizers. I won’t be there long enough to catch the big Eagles-Cardinals football show down on Sunday. If mascots have any influence on the outcome, the Cardinals are going down (says the Philly chick and former 76ers cheerleader). Check out these quirky science facts about the two birds:
Cardinal: The male cardinal is the defender of their breeding territory. In fact, it can spend long hours fighting his reflection he sees in glass surfaces.  (Note to Coach Reid: there’s got to be a way to weave this into an offensive plan.)
Eagle:The Bald Eagle, the living symbol of the U.S.A.’s freedoms, spirit and pursuit of excellence, is a strong bird that can live up to 28 years in the wild. Mating: during the Cartwheel Display a pair flies to great heights and then locks feet together as they go do “cartwheels” plummeting down towards the ground. They only break apart at the very last moment. (Here’s hoping the Eagles don’t break apart at the last moment on Sunday.)
All this talk about birds reminds me. Now’s the perfect time to participate in the 10- Minute Urban Bird Watch, a citizen science activity sponsored by Cornell University. “You become a citizen-scientist by observing birds in your neighborhood and sending the data to scientists at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology.” And, you’ll learn how to protect birds from urban threats.


Topics: Ornithology, Gardening
Location: Close to home; Outdoors.
Level of Difficulty: Very easy.
Fee: No fee. Free registration, kit and bonus sunflower seeds!
Gear: Pencil, paper, access to computer.
Duration: A little as 10 minutes, as often as you’d like.
Suitable for students as well. Website offers links to additional ornithology citizen science projects.

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