Zoologists and other scientists, especially including those working on conservation projects, often use remote cameras to watch secluded areas and end up with tens or hundreds of thousands of photos, some with wild animals from skunks to wolves, many with Eagles and hawks, others with humans or dogs and cats. All these photos need to be classified so specialists can examine the most important photos in detail and any help is much appreciated.


Raptors are birds of prey including all hawks but those of most interest in the United States are our national bird the Bald Eagle.

In the UK bird watchers can look for one of the 500 breeding pairs of Golden Eagles in Scotland but none are still to be found in England.

The latest Zooniverse project gives you a real chance to view photos of Haliaeetus leucocephalus (American Bald Eagles) in the wilds of Western Montana (USA) because they have 10,000 photos, many of which have Bald or Golden Eagles.

Raptors in photos need classification.

Your job, if you should choose to accept it, is to join the nearly 1,300 others looking for eagles in those photos, a project you can learn about in five minutes and enjoy the photos for up to a year since that is how long the project is expected to last. You can classify one photo or thousands - that’s entirely up to the volunteer.

But there is more to this conservation project than just eagles, there are 28 categories of classification, some easy to spot such as humans. Because each photo will be classified by multiple volunteers It doesn’t matter if you can’t be certain of your classification and wildlife scientists will later view all of the likely photos.

Raptors for children.

Since there will always be some errors in classification this project is perfect for classroom projects or even kids at home, showing them there is more to the Internet than fake news stories and at the same time getting them involved in wildlife conservation. Kids love this sort of project if it is presented as a game and in addition to doing actual scientific work which will benefit wildlife participating in the project can also start a lifelong love of science.

In addition to adult and immature Bald Eagles, you’ll also see moose, elk, golden eagles, whitetail deer, other species of raptors, and the occasional domestic animal.

The Western Montana Wildlife project run by the Zooniverse organization has already tagged 73 golden and 19 Bald Eagles overwintering birds. The photos are part of the Bitterroot Valley Winter Eagle Project and identifying the locations of the various raptors in the pictures will help in capturing and measuring the tagged birds.