Project FeederWatch is a winter-long survey of birds that visit feeders at backyards, nature centers, community areas, and other locales in North America. FeederWatchers periodically count the highest numbers of each species they see at their feeders from November through early April. FeederWatch, which is operated by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in partnership with the National Audubon Society, Bird Studies Canada, and Canadian Nature Federation, helps scientists track broadscale movements of winter bird populations and long-term trends in bird distribution and abundance.
Anyone can participate in this project, which simply entails doing what you normally do anyway – looking at the birds that come to your feeders – but with a little more discipline. The FeederWatch season begins in November and extends through early April. You may join at any time of year, but the sooner you sign up (participation fee required), the sooner you’ll get your Research Kit and newsletter.
Project FeederWatch, as noble a North American bird watching endeavor as there is, runs on the power of citizen science. Not only does FeederWatch data present a coast to coast picture of winter bird abundance and distribution, but is also captures critical information about specific phenomena like irruption patterns and disease vectors. So, if you’re already making a contribution by keeping your feeders well-stocked through the winter months, think about going that extra mile for your feathered friends and participate in Project FeederWatch.