All those prickles are intimidating, but when I took a second look at this thistle with its deep maroon flower and hints of the same color on its stemes and leaves, I found it unexpectedly beautiful. (I hope you do too!) This thistle is native, and while it typically gets rounded up and removed with the rest on the invasive thistles, it's actually an excellent food soure for pollinators, and is a larval hosts for butterflies. Birds, particularly goldfinches, relish the seeds.
Adults are approximately 64cm long and weigh 800g. They have a black crown and back with the remainder of the body white or grey, red eyes, and short yellow legs. Immature birds have dull grey-brown plumage on their heads, wings, and backs, with numerous pale spots. Their underparts are paler and streaked with brown. The young birds have orange eyes and duller yellowish-green legs.
For the developers at New York start-up Networked Organisms, smartphones are the butterfly nets of the 21st Century. Their tool, Project Noah, lets people upload photos of plants and wildlife around them, creating a map of the natural world and contributing to scientific research in the process.
Bespectacled scientists of yore would carry around hefty field guides, made up of hundreds of pages of text and photos. But these days, smartphone owners have a lighter option: an app called Project Noah, which aims to help people identify plants and animals as well as collect data from "citizen scientists" about where certain species are located.
Project Noah enables us to be part of a more focused online community where we can learn more about wildlife around us and contribute to scientific research. It pulls participants into deeper, more meaningful engagement by enabling people to go on “missions” to collectively map changes based on sightings.
A modern invention that may also hold the key to saving species in the future. Project Noah is a global study that encourages nature lovers to document the wildlife they encounter, using a purpose built phone app and web community. In addition to the virtual "collection" of species, Project Noah encourages citizen science by linking up with existing surveys including the International Spider Survey and the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network.