Posted on 12 February 2015.
A Northern Cardinal by Errol Taskin/Project Feederwatch
Don’t let what happens at the feeder stay at the feeder
Chickadees, Northern Cardinals, and other feeder birds carry an important message about the health of bird populations and our environment. In order to decode that message, people just need to count their birds and report what they see to Project FeederWatch. The 28th season of this Cornell Lab of Ornithology citizen-science project is going on now and there is still time to sign up.
FeederWatch runs November 8, 2014 through April 3, 2015. Participants are urged to sign up at www.FeederWatch.org. The project is easy to do and makes a great family activity.
“We learn so much from the information people report to us, and the data becomes 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 for everyone to see the trends, such as the Bushtit and warbler increases, along with many others that decades of data reveal.
“With this new tool, anyone can make discoveries about bird populations using the millions of FeederWatch data points, with just a few clicks of their mouse,” says Greig.
Look at reports for one species, compare two species, or compare trends in different parts of the country. The new trend graphs are in the Explore section of the FeederWatch website.
“One trend we’d like to see is more bird reports coming in from cities,” Greig explains. “During the past 27 years of FeederWatch, we’ve only had reports of Monk Parakeets from 136 participants out of more than 50,000. We’re very interested in this invasive species, which has established breeding populations in cities from a few escaped caged birds. And overall, we need to hear from people with feeders in cities to make sure we’re getting a good sample of urban sightings. Join the 20,000 FeederWatchers from around the U.S. and Canada who already make this an important part of their year and contribute vital information to science while enjoying their feeder visitors.”
To learn more about joining Project FeederWatch in the U.S. and to sign up, visit www.FeederWatch.org or call the Cornell Lab toll-free at (866) 989-2473. In return for the $18 fee ($15 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 printed newsletter, All About Birds News. The fee is $35 in Canada. To sign up visit Bird Studies Canada at www.bsc-eoc.org.
Project FeederWatch is a joint research and education project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Bird Studies Canada.pecies.