"I hope you love birds too. It is economical. It saves going to heaven."
Emily Dickinson

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Start counting: Project FeederWatch has begun

Anna's Hummingbird --  Photo by Sam Wilson/Project FeederWatch

Project FeederWatch started Nov. 8.

This citizen science project, sponsored by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Bird Studies Canada, is a winter-long survey of birds that visit feeders at back yards, nature centers, community areas and other locales in North America.  Participants periodically count the birds they see at their feeders through early April and log their counts on the program's website.  The data help scientists track broadscale movements of winter bird populations and long-term trends in bird distribution and abundance.

"We learn so much from the information people report to us, and the data become more and more valuable as time goes by," says project leader Emma Greig. "This is how we learned that bushtits are increasing in the western part of the country and that more yellow-rumped warblers are appearing in the East."

A new tool on the FeederWatch website makes it easy to see the trends, such as the bushtit and warbler increases, along with many others that decades of data reveal.

You don't have to be an advanced birder to participate.  Just watch feeders as much or as little as you want over two consecutive days as often as every week.

There is a $18 annual participation fee for U.S. residents ($15 for Cornell Lab members). The participation fee covers materials, staff support, web design, data analysis, and a year-end report (Winter Bird Highlights). Project FeederWatch is supported almost entirely by participation fees. Without the support of our participants, this project wouldn’t be possible.

For more information and sign up, go to Project FeederWatch.

Happy Birding!

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