Project Feeder Watch
By Ruth Simmons
Here at the store we get asked many questions; Where have the cardinals gone? We had so many hummingbirds last year, why do we only have two this year? Where do the birds go in winter? Scientists are answering these and many more bird related questions with help from people just like you. If you have 30 minutes per day, two days in a row, just two times per month, then Project Feeder Watch is a great way for you to help birds. You dont have to be an expert; even beginners are important contributors to the program. The program includes identification guides and on line help as well.
Project Feeder Watch started as the Ontario Feeder Bird Survey in 1976 and has become a joint research project between the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Bird Studies Canada, Audubon, and the Canadian Nature Federation. Each year from November through March, citizen scientists like you and I help them track the winter movements and numbers of birds in North America by counting and identifying the birds at our feeders and then sending in the data to Cornell. Our data will help to answer the questions of who, what, where, and when in the bird world. Are there more black-capped chickadees in New York or Missouri this year? Are the birds leaving drought areas for wetter pastures? More importantly, what species have had dangerous declines in population?
There is a slight fee of $15.00 to participate. For your fee you receive the Feederwatch Handbook, an ID poster, a 14-month calendar with Feederwatch photographs, instructions, data forms, and a subscription to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology newsletter. For those of you with computers, you can sign up and send in your data electronically. Not into computers? You can register by phone or mail and then send in your data by regular mail.
Another way to participate is by going to the Martha Lafite Thompson Nature Sanctuary in Liberty, Missouri. For more information and count dates call the Sanctuary at (816) 781-8598.
Another project that Cornell sponsors is the Great Backyard Bird Count, February 18-21, 2005. This count is four days long, and they ask that you count at least 15 minutes/day for one or more days. Because this count is only done via the Internet it is free. For more information you can visit their website www.birdsource.org/gbbc.
One of things I have learned over the years about people who feed birds, is that they want to help. Project feeder watch is an easy way to help birds and learn bird identification at the same time.
BACKYARD BIRD CENTER
6212 NW Barry Road Kansas City, Missouri 64154
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