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Conservation & You

Beat the Winter Blues: Become a Feeder Watcher

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Do you love nature, but it’s just too cold to go out and enjoy it during the winter? Ornothologists (bird scientists) at Cornell University have a winter wildlife project you can help with right from your window! Do you like watching birds gather at your window or backyard feeder to nibble on seeds? If so, you can become a Feeder Watcher!

Feeder watchers are asked to count the birds they see at their feeders from November through early April and send their counts to Project FeederWatch. Your data will help scientists track winter bird populations throughout North America. Everyone who participates gets a kit for online data entry, a watcher’s handbook, a color poster of common birds, and a calendar to keep track of all visits to the feeder.

Here are the steps:

  • Visit the Project Feeder Watch website to sign up.
  • Select your “count site,” a place in your yard or by your window that’s easy to monitor.
  • Pick your “count days,” which can consist of two consecutive days as often as once a week, though less is fine.
  • Count how many birds of a species you see at any one specific time and birds that eat or drink from your feeder.  Also count birds that are drawn to fruits or any ornaments as well as hawks and predatory birds that seem attracted to the birds at your feeder. 
  • Report your count!


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Feeder Watch

As an official feeder watcher, spend some time on the Feeder Watch website  You’ll find bird facts, live bird cams, data from other watchers, and articles that will make you a smarter bird lover. There’s also a section that honors outstanding Feeder Watchers – YOUR picture and story could be there soon!

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