FeederWatch eNews: New FeederWatch staff, Winter Bird Highlights 2021 now online, and bird counting reminders
Carolina Wren by FeederWatcher Nikki Buchalski, East Brunswick, New Jersey

Project FeederWatch eNews

January 11, 2021

New Assistants Join FeederWatch Team in U.S.

FeederWatch added two new project assistants in the United States: Heidi Faulkner and Lisa Galford. Heidi grew up loving birds from watching the feeders at her home, which inspired her to pursue a career in science and ornithology. She is eager to inspire people to become as excited about birds and nature as she is and to help people engage in citizen science. Lisa has also been interested in birds for many years, but her field of study has been botany and botanical collections. Taxonomy and binomial nomenclature (taxonomical names) for animals and plants are two of her favorite areas of research. She attended Cornell as an undergraduate and worked with FeederWatch as a student. After living and working in several regions of the country, from the Southwest to the Midwest and New England, she is excited to return to the Cornell Lab and Project FeederWatch.

Heidi and Lisa join Anne Marie Johnson who assists with Project FeederWatch part-time. Holly Grant, who used to split her time between FeederWatch and NestWatch is shifting to NestWatch full-time. We are sad to see Holly go but happy that she will still be nearby, and we are delighted to have Heidi and Lisa on the FeederWatch team!

2021 Issue of Winter Bird Highlights Now Online

The 2021 edition of Winter Bird Highlights (PDF), our annual publication, is available online. If you participated last season, thank you! Inside you will find our annual Regional Roundup describing what your FeederWatch counts showed us about the birds in your region last season. This year's issue also features research about the impact of noise and light pollution on backyard birds and if birds prefer green or yellow feeders. In addition, learn about Dark-eyed Juncos in Canada and see some of last year's BirdSpotter photo contest submissions.  

FeederWatching Counting Reminders

Please count…

  • birds that are attracted to your count site because of something you provided (water, bird food, or plantings), either directly or indirectly, or because of the activity at your feeders even if they do not eat food from your feeders or take a bath;
  • birds that are feeding on seeds from fruits or plantings in your count site (Cedar Waxwings and American Robins, for example);
  • hawks, owls, and other predatory birds, such as roadrunners and shrikes, that are attracted by the activity at your feeders even if they are not successful in catching a meal.

But don’t count…

  • birds that simply fly over your count site, such as Canada Geese or Sandhill Cranes;
  • birds that you observe outside of your chosen count days.

Males and females count as one, unless you see them both at once

Although you can distinguish between male and female for some species, you still must report only the number of individuals that you saw simultaneously, regardless of sex. It is important that counts for all species be conducted in the same way.

"Boring" counts are important!

While some FeederWatchers see lots of birds and bird species in their count sites, most participants see low numbers of the same birds every week. These “predictable” counts are the heart of FeederWatch. Focusing on the extreme cases would provide a biased view of bird populations. Participants often believe that researchers are not interested in data about the same old birds, especially when the birds are “just” doves or sparrows or starlings. But scientists need counts of all birds—as well as reports of no birds—to be able to monitor populations trends over time.

Remember to enter one set of counts—tallying across both count days

Each time you see a species in your count site during your count days, count the number of individuals in view simultaneously and record that number on your tally sheet or our mobile app. If later during your two-day count you see more individuals of a species in view simultaneously, revise your tally to reflect the larger number. At the end of your two-day count, the largest number of each species that you saw simultaneously becomes the number that you report to FeederWatch. Make one report for each two-day count.
Join Today!
Project FeederWatch is a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Birds Canada. Project FeederWatch is sponsored in the U.S. and Canada by Wild Birds Unlimited and in Canada by Armstrong Bird Food. All donations and participation fees are tax deductible.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a nonprofit organization supported by friends and members. Our mission is to interpret and conserve the earth's biological diversity through research, education, and citizen science focused on birds.

Birds Canada is our country's leading national charitable organization dedicated to bird research and conservation. Our mission is to conserve wild birds of Canada through sound science, on-the-ground actions, innovative partnerships, public engagement, and science based advocacy.

Project FeederWatch Contact Information

For U.S. participants:
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Project FeederWatch
159 Sapsucker Woods Rd.
Ithaca, NY 14850
(607) 254-2427

For Canadian participants:
Birds Canada/Oiseaux Canada
P.O. Box 160
Port Rowan, ON N0E 1M0
(519) 586-3531
Toll Free: 1-888-448-BIRD (2473)

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Cornell Lab of Ornithology · 159 Sapsucker Woods Rd · Ithaca, NY 14850 · USA