Do you enjoy watching the birds in your backyard? Whether you have feeders or not, you should consider becoming a citizen scientist by joining Project FeederWatch this winter.
What is Project FeederWatch?
Project FeederWatch lets you become the biologist in your own backyard. You identify the birds in your backyard or at your feeders and submit your observations to the Cornell Lab. You can count every week between November and April, or you can count only once all season. The time you spend is up to you! The easy online data entry lets you immediately see all of your counts and view colorful summaries and graphs. Anyone interested in birds can participate, you don’t have to be an expert. All you need is a comfortable chair, a window, and an interest in the birds in your neighborhood.
What has been the experience of some of my neighbors?
The Morr’s participated for the first time in 2017-2018. It was a learning experience in bird identification. The slower pace of watching them at the feeder often allowed them to observe various characteristics that made future identification easier.
It was fun noting the different species that appeared during different periods. American Goldfinch was first seen last year on January 8 and the high count was 2. In the first weekend this year, 4 were seen.
Looking back, it can be noted the American Robins were the highest number seen during one observation period. They were only seen from mid-December through mid-January.
Nineteen different species were seen for the 2017-2018 season. In the first two weeks of this season, 13 species have been observed. Chipping Sparrows and a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker were new species for them this year.
How do I participate?
Once you sign up you can immediately start collecting data at your feeders. Read the online instructions and use the printable tally sheets to collect your counts. In the meantime, you will be sent a research kit in the mail with your unique ID number. When you have your ID number you can enter your counts online. Kits take a few weeks to arrive but don’t worry, it will be there soon. You don’t need it to start collecting data.
What do I get when I register?
The cost to participate is $18 and you will receive:
FeederWatch Handbook & Instructions
Full-color poster of common feeder birds
Bird-Watching Days Calendar
The Project FeederWatch annual report, Winter Bird Highlights
Digital access to Living Bird magazine
The first day to count birds for the 2018-2019 FeederWatch season was Saturday, November 10, 2018, and the season runs through April 5, 2019. There are already four SIB members who have joined Project Feederwatch for the 2018-2019 winter season. Let us know if you already are signed up! We hope more members will consider joining!
Let us know if you have any questions and go to the Project FeederWatch website to join now!
– Submitted by Judy Morr
(Photos by Dean Morr)