Pandemic Bird-Watching Created a Data Boom—and a Conundrum

Avid amateurs are generating a wealth of information on avian activity. But does that data reflect new trends in bird behavior, or in people’s?

On a morning in late September, Kestin Thomas stood next to the towering glass facade of the Time Warner building in Manhattan holding a dead bird. The small body was still warm in his hand, but he couldn’t feel the flutter of a heartbeat or the soft puff of breath escaping. He recorded the death on a data sheet, marking the time, day, and location. Then he put the bird in a plastic bag and took it home, leaving it in the freezer for a day

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