The Data Tool: Zooniverse

December 7, 2020

To figure out what’s going on between the birds on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Panama Fruit Feeder cam, we will be using Zooniverse’s video tagging tool to collect data from recorded video footage. Zooniverse is a free, easy-to-use online platform that hosts hundreds of citizen science projects in which volunteers collect data from images or video clips. We’ve successfully used Zooniverse in the past to collect data for the first edition of Battling Birds and Hawk Talk, another Bird Cams Lab investigation.

A screenshot of the data collection screen for the Battling Birds data collection on Zooniverse.A screenshot of one step in the data collection workflow on Zooniverse for the first edition of Battling Birds, in which participants collected data from FeederWatch cam footage.

For the upcoming Panama edition of Battling Birds, we will cut recorded footage from the Panama Fruit Feeder cam into short clips and upload the clips into Zooniverse. Multiple participants will watch each clip (this increases accuracy of the collected data), and each person will be able to rewatch and slow down each clip while tagging data. This allows us to make sure that we don’t miss anything! However, an important consideration when using this tool is that the video clips are served up randomly (not in order) and each one can only be 10-15 seconds long. For an example of what this looks like, try out the data collection protocol we used for the first edition of Battling Birds.

Use this information as a guiding post when taking part in the discussion on the Wonder Board. Knowing what tool we have at our disposal is important when determining how we will ask our research question and what data we need to collect. 

Go to the Wonder board to take part in the discussion.