Migrating birds turn Finns into citizen scientists

In Finland, thousands of citizens have responded to a call from scientific and networking institutions to report their observations of migrating birds. As of the beginning of November 2023, approximately 3.7 million recordings were submitted.

“The collected data allows us to investigate when the different bird species are arriving to Finland, where different bird species reside and in combination with other information, such as climatic and habitat conditions, analyze and identify which factors affect bird populations,” according to reporting at the website of CSC, the national research and education network (NREN) of Finland.

CSC is responsible for maintaining and processing the collected data and ensuring data availability for research. Other partners are the University of Jyväskylä and the Finnish broadcasting company Yle.

Next step: a biodiversity digital twin

The partners have developed a mobile application named Muuttolintujen kevät – meaning “Spring of Migratory Birds” – available from Apple and Android stores. The app allows anyone to record bird sounds in nature with their own mobile device and identify different bird species. The collected monitoring data allows for more accurate data on bird migration than has previously been collected.

Further, the data will be used as input data for a purpose-designed digital twin for bird distribution modelling developed as part of BioDT, a biodiversity digital twin project funded by the European Union program Horizon Europe. One of the aims of BioDT is to develop new ways to combine biodiversity digital twins and high-performance computing with citizen science. The project draws on the LUMI supercomputer, operated by CSC.

Rewarded for successful open science

In 2023, the Spring of Migratory Birds project was awarded the Champion of Open Science Award by the National Open Science and Research Coordination in Finland. Coordinated by the Federation of Finnish Learned Societies, funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture, the award is given to an organization or group which advances the fulfilment of open science practices in Finland, and which provides through their work an example and support for others.

The data collected through the Spring of Migratory Birds project will facilitate understanding of the connection between environmental change, bird populations, and ecosystem functioning.


The text is inspired by the articles “The Champion of Open Science Award granted to the Spring of Migratory Birds” and “Real-time bird monitoring for the benefit of science” at the CSC website.

Published: 02/2024

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