Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Project FeederWatch

While surfing around the web, procrastinating making a presentation for class today, I came across a web site for "Project FeederWatch," a back yard bird watching data collection project through Cornell University.

From their web site:
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 helps scientists track broadscale movements of winter bird populations and long-term trends in bird distribution and abundance.

Project FeederWatch is operated by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Bird Studies Canada.

I signed up! :)

Basically, you have to:

1. Put out food, water, or some other bird attractant. (Done).

2. Watch your feeders for as long as you want to on 2 consecutive days each week.

3. Report the types and numbers of birds you see during your watch days.

They send you a bird ID kit and some other stuff for a $15 participation fee.

I already watch my feeders anyway, and to do it with purpose sounds quite cool. Scientists actually use the resulting data, and you can view different trends for all of the years of the project online.

There are like 20 house sparrows in the tree in my back yard right now. I saw a few drink from the new bird bath this morning :)

I can't figure out how to remove the screens on my windows. I want to remove a few so I can take better pictures of the birds from inside this winter. The screens have two plunger-type plugs at the top, and normally I would just pull down on those plungers to dislodge the bar that is inserted into the frame of the window and that would free the screen. But pulling down on these plungers doesn't seem to do anything - or I'm not able to pull them down far enough to cause that bar to clear the window frame, one or the other. I don't see any other latches or buttons or connections or anything. Darn new house windows. (This house is 5 years old).

The birds seem REALLY happy to have black oil sunflower seed again. They're also liking the "gourmet" mixed seed I got - though the sunflower seed really is the big hit around here. It was over the summer as well.

I can't wait to start counting my birds for Project FeederWatch! :)

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