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Project FeederWatch and Canada's SchoolNet

"Project FeederWatch is a great way to bring nature inside and the classroom outside. It complements everything in the curriculum: math, language, art, geography, and of course, a great introduction to scientific research!" Hugh McArthur, Project FeederWatch educator, Simcoe, ON.

Welcome to Project FeederWatch!

You and your students are invited to join thousands of other FeederWatchers across the continent who watch birds for science - and for fun. You can use Project FeederWatch to educate students about bird consideration, biology, and the importance of conserving habitat, while contributing to a major North American research project.

It is our hope that participation in a long-term scientific research project will foster your students? interest in nature and conservation and help them develop basic field and research skills they may not otherwise have the opportunity to learn in a classroom setting.

Because Project FeederWatch data are available on line, the possibilities for learning are endless. You can enter your data on our web pages, and track the movements of feeder birds such as winter finches from week to week.

Bird Studies Canada, the Canadian Nature Federation, the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, and the National Audubon Society invite you to use Project FeederWatch to complement your curriculum.

Three Decades of FeederWatchers

Since 1976, thousands of people in Canada and the United States have been "FeederWatching" - counting birds at their feeders for Project FeederWatch.

Project FeederWatch asks participants to report on the kinds and numbers of birds that visit their feeders on certain days from November to March - in other words, FeederWatching is data-collecting. The result is a database that is yielding discoveries on such things as winter bird movements, populations trends, and frequency of feeder visits.

Over a tenth of Project FeederWatch participants identify themselves as educators, most of them formal educators, who use FeederWatch with their public and private school students from elementary school level through college.

FeederWatch educators also include those who lead 4-H groups, Scouts, and those who operate home schools. No matter what level they teach, FeederWatch supplements studies in areas such as general science and biology because it "...brings real science into the classroom."

Students Conduct the Research

In fact, students are expected to participate fully in the research. With educators checking their accuracy, students identify bird species, collect data on the kinds and numbers of birds at their study site (a bird feeder and its surrounding habitat), and describe habitat and supplemental foods.

Information is submitted through our web page (paper dataforms are also available), and analyzed by scientists at BSC and CLO. In turn, the students improve their observation and bird indentification skills, enhance their overall bird knowledge, and learn how to conduct scientific research. They also get a sense of being an important part of a larger project, seeing the results of their efforts in reports on these web pages and in Bird Studies Canada?s quarterly magazine.

Join in FeederWatch!

You can join thousands of other people who are already participating in FeederWatch. We have prepared a special Teacher?s Guide, full of suggestions on ways to integrate Project FeederWatch into the regular curriculum.

Students are encouraged to learn as much as possible about birds - how they fly, why they have different beaks and feet, what they eat other than feeder food, and so on. In the process, students can learn science, math, even history, and have fun while they do so!

If you would like to participate, you must register, so that we can keep track of who is submitting data, and so that we can send you the instruction booklet, handbook, poster, calendar, and BSC?s quarterly magazine.

Participants are asked to become members of BSC as the costs for the program are covered by membership fees. These are $35 annually. This helps to cover the cost of developing and sending these materials, as well as analyzing the data. We hope you will agree that this is a small price to pay for enriching the education of children.

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