Terms of Use

Data and Image Use Policy

(Note: This document is subject to change. Please check back to this site before using Journey North data or images.)

Journey North is a citizen science program that spans the North American continent. Journey North volunteers collect data on phenological events including migration and life cycle stages of project species. Journey North volunteers also collect data on the distribution of project species during the breeding season. Their data have been the basis for many publications on migration and the impact of climate change.

Journey North follows the Creative Commons BY-NC-SA copyright policy (Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike) (see http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/).

Photographs, Infographics, Educational Materials Copyright

Individuals who use photos found on the Journey North website, maps and sightings database must attribute the work to the photographer listed with the photo and to Journey North. You may not use the work for commercial purposes. If you alter, transform, or build upon the work, you may only distribute the resulting work under the same or a similar license to this one. If you use photos from Journey North website, follow the Creative Commons policy linked above, and attribute the photos as follows: Photographer Name, courtesy Journey North. If you use infographics, charts and other educational and outreach materials for classroom settings, and not for commercial use, please use the following attribution: Image courtesy Journey North. When appropriate, please use the Journey North logo. 

Data Access Policy

For Scientists:

Journey North encourages researchers to disseminate findings in appropriate publications, based in whole or in part on Journey North data. All publication(s) or product(s) using Journey North data are requested to adhere to the policy outlined below.

Journey North has strived to make data accessible and publicly available. In keeping with this goal, Journey North has published two data packages on a central environmental data repository hosted by the Environmental Data Initiative.

Description: Journey North Monarch & Milkweed Project: an ongoing study of monarch butterfly migration (species Danaus plexippus) and milkweed phenology, conducted at broad spatial and temporal scales. Participants from Canada, the US and Mexico track and submit observations on monarchs’ first arrival dates, breeding and feeding behavior as well as the onset of fall migration, roosts, and presence of monarchs found beyond official sanctuary locations on Mexico. Community scientists also track first emergence of milkweed in the spring and the presence of milkweed across the landscape, documenting milkweed species, if known. This data package featured here contains 24 years of monarch and milkweed data (1996 – 2020) collected by 42,518 community scientists.

Description: Journey North Hummingbird Migration Project: an ongoing study of hummingbird migration. From 1996 to 2000, 30,703 community scientists from across North America submitted observational data on first arrival dates, breeding and feeding behavior, the onset of fall migration and presence of hummingbird species throughout the winter months in the United States. Focal species are the Ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) and Rufous hummingbird. Observational data is also available for Broad-tailed hummingbird (Selasphorus platycercus), Black-chinned hummingbird (Archilochus alexandri), Calliope hummingbird (Selasphorus calliope), Costa’s hummingbird (Calypte costae), Anna’s hummingbird (Calypte anna), Allen’s hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin).

Please note: In the EDI data repository, these data packages have unique identifiers, are well described by metadata, are transparent and easily accessible. Credit is given to the creators with acknowledgement requested to be given to the Journey North citizen scientists who collected the data. 

In addition to projects presented here, Journey North community scientists also track the migration of Common Loons & Ice-Out, American Robins, Barn Swallows, Red-winged Blackbirds, and Baltimore and Bullock’s Orioles. These datasets have yet to be published in the EDI data repository.

To obtain datasets for these projects, please contact the Journey North Program Coordinator directly. Research grade data is not available at the present time via the website. For datasets — other than those of Monarch & Milkweed and the Hummingbird Migration Projects — the Program Coordinator will share the appropriate metadata documentation prior to use.

For Community Members and Educators:

Site visitors are welcome to use the data from the website for educational purposes, or for informal analyses. Educators may use the data in a classroom setting for practice in managing and interpreting data, and students may present posters using the data at science fairs or other venues. Educators may publish articles or lessons about how they have utilized the data, but not articles for which the main purpose is to provide information about migration biology or conservation. In the latter cases, educators should submit a request for permission using the process outlined below. Teachers may link to the Journey North site on their school website or social media sites but should not post the actual data.

Redistribution of Journey North Data

Without specific approval, no data provided by Journey North can be distributed beyond the individuals requesting the data. Raw data should not be made available for download through the Internet, but derived data (maps, tables) are usually acceptable. If you plan to present Journey North data on the Internet, the nature of the visualization(s) must be specified in your data request.


If a request for data includes proposed research with significant Journey North staff contributions, then agreement on the role of involved staff, joint authorship, and order of authors on publications must be reached before the data are released. Journey North review of manuscripts (or parts thereof) before submission to journals is requested.

Final publications are requested to be shared with Journey North so that Journey North can share relevant research with Journey North citizen scientists and members.


The researchers agree to acknowledge Journey North (and Journey North citizen scientists) in all relevant publications. In addition, the following statement must be included in the acknowledgment section of any publication:

We wish to thank Journey North for providing this dataset. We also wish to thank all the observers who contributed data for the project.

If data retrieved from Journey North are to be used for web-based products (maps, summaries, etc.), please contact Journey North for instructions on applicable logo and website links.

Revocation of Privileges

Any researcher/author/user not abiding by this policy may forfeit future access to Journey North data.

Contact Information

Requests for data must be submitted to:

Journey North does not release any personal information about project volunteers.

Created 07/31/2020; Revised 08/19/2020; Revised 11/05/2021