Sunday, March 25, 2007

Project FeederWatch

Today is my last day for Project FeederWatch. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology sponsors this project which is a "survey of feeder birds during winter." People from all over the U.S. and Canada participate in this project. Since this was the first winter in a long time when I knew I wasn't going to have to work on the weekends, I decided to try it again.

Bluejay selects a peanut from the window feeder -- this feeder is only out in the winter.

The nice thing is that you can do the whole project on-line if you have internet access (there's also a mail-in option for people who don't have a home computer). My first weekend began November 11-12, 2006. We had received 10.5" of snow just the day before, so there were lots of birds at my feeders that weekend.

The more acrobatic bluejays can choose a peanut from the wreath feeder hanging in the tree.

The numbers of birds fluctuated throughout the season and I was amazed at the numbers and variety of birds appearing in my yard when I actually took the time to sit and watch them. Some of the more notable results were 13 cardinals seen in February, a northern shrike that appeared one weekend in November, a white-breasted nuthatch that visited me until the 23rd of January (I'm guessing Cooper's Hawk got him), and the rare winter visitor -- a clay-colored sparrow that was at my feeders from the middle of January to the middle of February.

Male house finch enjoys a bath in the heated bird spa.

It's been a fun season and I would encourage anyone who watches the birds at their feeder to participate. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology tabulates this data to determine increases or declines in the songbird populations and if weather or some other factor contributes to these trends. There is a small cost ($15) to participate, but I think it was worth it for what I found out about birds in my yard. It will be interesting to see how things change next year.

Plain suet out now to discourage starlings. The woodpeckers love this tree because the bark is really rough and they spend lots of time pecking around behind the loose pieces of bark.

To participate or find out more information, go to

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