Common Redpolls Photo: Stéphane Giguère, Québec
By Kerrie Wilcox, Manager, Project FeederWatch
Did you know that you can connect to nature, learn about backyard birds, and contribute to important scientific research – without leaving your home? You can with Project FeederWatch!
Our backyards are important habitats for birds year-round. To help birds, we need to understand how these habitats and the birds using them are changing over time. Your counts of winter backyard birds tell us which species are doing OK and which ones need our conservation attention.
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:
Blue Jay Photo: Risa and Daniel Light, Ontario
Who can participate?
Everyone is welcome. 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. You don’t need a feeder – if there are plantings, water, or other features around your home that attract birds, you can participate. Even if you count birds only once during the season, that is a helpful snapshot of the birds in your location. Last season, 4820 FeederWatchers participated across Canada! The number of FeederWatchers climbs each year – we hope you’ll join this thriving community.
Whether you are new to birdwatching or have been doing it for decades, participating in Project FeederWatch will keep you entertained during the winter months!
FeederWatch also gives you tools to learn more about the birds in your own yard and community. When you sign up for the first time, you will receive a poster of eastern and western common feeder birds, a Birds Canada calendar, digital access to Winter Bird Highlights (the FeederWatch magazine), and tools to track and explore birds on our website or mobile app.
You’ll also be able to connect with our flourishing community of bird lovers through the FeederWatch Canada Facebook group. It’s a great place to share your exciting bird visitors and get tips on identification and bird feeding advice.
Project FeederWatch is also a chance to turn your bird watching hobby 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.
Red-breasted Nuthatch Photo: Kerrie Wilcox, Ontario
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 pfw AT birdscanada.org. In the United States, visit Feederwatch.org/join-or-renew/. The 2021-22 Project FeederWatch season runs from 13 November 2021 to 30 April 2022.
More about FeederWatch
Project FeederWatch has a FeederWatch mobile app available in both the Apple Store and Google Play. Participants have the option to use the app to keep track of counts, note snow depth and effort, and submit counts directly to our database.
For tips on helping feeder birds stay safe and healthy, please visit: https://www.birdscanada.org/you-can-help/keeping-feeder-birds-healthy/
Project FeederWatch is supported in Canada by our national sponsor Armstrong Bird Food and by Wild Birds Unlimited.