A fresh new season for the Project FeederWatch citizen-science project kicks off on November 9. Anyone with an interest in birds and nature is invited to be part of the action. FeederWatch also has a fresh new look for its 27th season, plus new web tools that make participation and exploration even easier and more fun.
Join the tens of thousands of people who keep tabs on the birds that come to their feeders from November through April. Participants submit their observations to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. These long-term data from across North America could not be gathered any other way. Observations help reveal important patterns in bird distribution and numbers that may be changing over time at a continental scale or in a participant’s own backyard.
New and returning participants are urged to sign up now at www.FeederWatch.org.
“We have a new interactive tool called ‘Common Feeder Birds’ that allows people to learn about the food and feeder preferences of nearly 100 species, based on data collected by participants,” says FeederWatch project leader Emma Greig. “The tool can be used to predict what birds can be attracted to an area so you can offer foods strategically to attract desired species.”
Observations from a record number of participants last season helped scientists follow the changes in woodpecker and nuthatch populations in the Midwest where trees were infested with invasive emerald ash borer beetles.
“We need continued FeederWatch data on woodpecker and nuthatch populations throughout North America to better understand the long term consequences of this beetle invasion,” Greig says. “We also need renewed FeederWatcher effort to monitor the health of House Finches, which are susceptible to a disease that causes swelling around the eyes. Our participants will be asked to report whether they looked for the disease and whether they saw sick birds.”
To learn more about joining Project FeederWatch and to sign up, visit www.FeederWatch.org or call the Cornell Lab toll-free at (866) 989-2473. In return for the $15 fee ($12 for Cornell Lab members), participants receive the FeederWatcher Handbook and Instructions with tips on how to successfully attract birds to your feeders, an identification poster of the most common feeder birds, and a calendar. Participants also receive Winter Bird Highlights, an annual summary of FeederWatch findings, as well as the Cornell Lab’s quarterly newsletter, Living Bird News.
Image courtesy Cornell Lab of Ornithology