Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that this coming Monday a total solar eclipse will cross the continental United States. Eclipses are significant moments in the lives of humans but scientists know less about how non-human animals respond to them. After all, opportunities to observe this phenomenon occur only a couple times a year, and its occurrence in the same geographical area is substantially more rare. The last total solar eclipse in the US was in 1979. Since then, not only has our technology to research this phenomenon evolved, but methods for the public to engage in eclipse related citizen science has exploaded. You can read about all the different opportunities here.
Of these opportunities, the one that excites me most is the California Academy of Science’s ‘Life Responds’. By using the iNaturalist app, CAS invites you to make and report observations of how a particular organism responds to the eclipse. The instruction are simple and you can read the full protocol here. I encourage all my readers to consider participating with any species you choose, BUT I thought it might be fun to host a mini crow-specific Life Responds challenge here on the blog.
To that end, I invite all of you to follow the Life Responds observation protocol, and in addition to sending your observations in via iNaturalist, email them to me or leave them in a comment here. I’ll then synthesize all your observations into a little mini report that we can all learn from and enjoy. Sound fun? I hope so!
Remember, if you chose to participate, please follow the Life Responds protocol. While I’ll certainly accept general comments/observations, if everyone follows the same collection method our observations will be much easier to synthesize and interpret.
Not able to be in the path of totality? No problem! Your observations are still invited and valuable. I’m particularly interested in whether or not Seattlites observe the crows abandon their daytime activities and head towards the roost as the light changes. I myself will be down in Oregon in the path of totality, so I’ll miss that observation. Hopefully I can locate a corvid from my observation spot in Oregon. If you have questions let me know, otherwise enjoy the eclipse and remember to protect your eyes 👀!