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Just when you think the birding excitement is over for this year, along comes Feederwatch. This citizen-scientist program is sponsored by The Cornell Lab and the 2017-2018 season begins on Saturday, Nov. 11 and ends on Friday, April 13, a total of 21 weeks.

So how do you get involved? If you have a bird feeder that you keep filled all winter–and a little time to watch it, you’re set to go. Just visit feederwatch.org. The cost for your registration and materials is $18.00 this year.  Even though the feederwatch season may begin without you, there is still plenty of time to join.

Okay, you’ve visited feederwatch and it’s a great site filled with information. What’s next?

1. Choose 2 consecutive days each week for your observations.

2. Watch your feeder area for as much or as little time as you choose. (This part used to really worry me, but I find breakfast is a great feederwatch time for me, or maybe while I do the dishes. The amount of time doesn’t have to be the same each time you watch.)

3. Next, record the maximum number of each species seen at one time. (For example, you see 3 goldfinch together. Then 4 later in the day, and finally 6 a couple of minutes later. Your count would be 6–your highest count at one time.)

4. After your 2 days of observation, go to feederwatch.org and post your observations. It’s painless. (I forgot to add that you can skip weeks. For example, if you’re out of town or have company.)

To get a better idea, check Feederwatch Reports for previous years in the menu at the top of our Home Page.  Thanks to Paula (before she moved) and Ned, you’ll get a good idea of what you might see around Macon County.  Anyone can post their reports on our website–in fact, we hope you do!

Feederwatch offers a great chance for all of us to be scientists in our own backyard. The info we report, often sighting the same birds each week, when added to all the other observerations across the country, really does help ornithologists keep track of what’s happening with the birds. This is just a brief overview of Feederwatch. Be sure to visit feederwatch.org for the full story and registration.

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