ITHACA — Project FeederWatch, a joint research and education program of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Birds Canada, opens Nov. 14.
FeederWatch participants make periodic two-day counts from November through early April.
“FeederWatchers” can spend as much or as little time as they like to collect data. Program officials say that even counting birds once or twice all winter has value. The FeederWatch program collects participants’ observations online, puts them to work for science and provides tools to learn more about birds in the neighborhoods.
Reports from FeederWatch are expanding the long-term database used to detect shifts in the numbers and distributions of birds in the United States and Canada.
The Cornell lab of Ornithology has noted people’s desire to stick close to home during the pandemic has fueled a tremendous surge in birdwatching.
“Typically participants do watch birds at feeders,” FeederWatch leader Emma Greig said in a news release. “But it’s OK if you don’t have one. Just choose a defined area where you can easily monitor birds. There may be a pond, or maybe you’ve deliberately planted shrubs to attract birds. Whatever you have done to create a space for birds is appropriate for FeederWatching. Feeders or natural areas at schools and nature centers work, too.”
To join tens of thousands of other FeederWatch participants, sign up online at FeederWatch.org. Instructional materials, including a bird identification poster, are mailed to first-time participants who opt to receive them.
“It will be interesting to see if the boom in birdwatching that started last spring continues through the rest of 2020 and into spring 2021,” Ms. Greig said. “We’re hearing from a lot of people that watching birds is a bright spot in their day and makes them feel more peaceful and relaxed.”
The participation fee is $18 in the U.S. ($15 for Cornell Lab members) or a donation of any amount in Canada.