Limited gatherings, fewer outings … you may be wondering how to keep yourself busy and in good spirits this winter. If you enjoy birds, Project FeederWatch may be the answer!
What is Project FeederWatch?
Project FeederWatch is a joint project of Birds Canada and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology that depends on volunteers like you to help us all learn more about bird populations. It’s easy to contribute. All you need to do is:
- Join Project FeederWatch.
- Count your feeder birds periodically throughout the season (14 November 2020 – 9 April 2021).
- Submit your counts online or using the new Project FeederWatch app.
Everyone is welcome to participate. You don’t need to be an expert birder because resources to help you identify birds are provided. You also don’t need to make a huge time commitment – you decide how much time you spend. Even if you only count once during the season, that is a helpful snapshot of the birds in your location.
Common Redpolls Photo: Helena Garcia
Not only will the birds keep you entertained with their lively antics, but you’re sure to learn something new about them as you keep track of the species that stop by and notice their behaviours. If this season is your first time signing up for Project FeederWatch in Canada, you will receive a poster of common feeder birds, a calendar, last season’s results, and the opportunity to explore bird data online. You’ll also be able to connect with fellow bird lovers through the FeederWatch Canada Facebook group. It’s a great way to beat isolation and stress!
Project FeederWatch is also a chance to turn your bird feeding pastime into valuable data that has the power to help birds. Researchers have access to the data you submit, which they analyze to see how winter bird populations may be changing. Understanding long-term trends is an important step towards conserving bird populations.
“FeederWatch data show us how our resident winter bird populations are faring and the winter movements of birds across North America,” explains Kerrie Wilcox, Canadian Leader of Project FeederWatch. “When there are food shortages up north, species like Red-breasted Nuthatches, Pine Siskins, and Common Redpolls descend on feeders in the south.”
How do I start?
You can join Project FeederWatch in Canada by making a donation of any amount to Birds Canada – which also makes you a Birds Canada member. To donate and sign up, please visit birdscanada.org/feederwatch, call 1-888-448-2473, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. In the United States, call 1-866-989-2473 to join. The 2020-21 Project FeederWatch season runs from 14 November 2020 to 9 April 2021.
Red-bellied Woodpecker Photo: Kerrie Wilcox
More about FeederWatch
New this year, Project FeederWatch has launched a FeederWatch mobile app in both the Apple Store and Google Play. Participants now have the option to use the app to keep track of counts, note snow depth and effort, and submit counts directly to our database.
Project FeederWatch is supported in Canada by our national sponsor Armstrong Bird Food and by Wild Birds Unlimited.