Although Wednesday Greenway walks have ended for this year, there’s still a lot of birding to do.  One excellent way to get to know the birds who are your closest neighbors–and still stay warm–is to take part in Feeder Watch.

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. There is a minimal donation for your registration and materials. Feederwatch offers a great chance for all of us to be citizen-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. 

From the Feeder Watch website:

  1. Sign up – If you have not yet signed up, join today! During the season, it takes a few weeks from when you sign up for your kit to arrive with your ID number and for your ID number to be activated in Your Data.
  2. Select your count site – Choose a portion of your yard that is easy to monitor, typically an area with feeders that is visible from one vantage point.
  3. Choose your count days – Select two consecutive days as often as once a week (less often is fine). Leave at least five days when you do not count between each of your two-day counts.
  4. How to count – Watch your feeders as much or a little as you want over your selected count days. Record the maximum number of each species visible at any one time during your two-day count. Keep one tally across both days. Do not add your counts together!
  5. What to count – Please count
    • all of the individuals of each species in view at any one time
    • birds attracted to food or water you provided
    • birds attracted to fruits or ornamental plantings
    • hawks and other predatory birds that are attracted by the birds at your feeders

    But do not count

    • birds that simply fly over the count site, such as Canada Geese or Sandhill Cranes.
    • birds seen on non-count days
  6. Report your counts – Submit counts through the Your Data section of our website.

Feeder Watch begins Sat., Nov. 10 and ends Fri., April 5.

Bird Club members have been Feeder Watch reporters in the past and we’re looking forward to your reports again this year.  Check out the pages above for Feeder Watch to see what’s been recorded.

My winter feeders are out and the action is amazing.  I feed off of a second floor deck and at ground level. So far it’s the usual suspects:  titmice, chickadees, nuthatches, song sparrows, downey woodpeckers, wrens, and mourning doves, but I know there’ll be some unexpected visitors–and all are welcome–except those pesky pine siskins!  (I’ll be sending them to you.)


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