Are you looking for an activity to keep you busy through Fall and Winter, while you contribute to scientific research?  Whether you’re new to birdwatching or have been watching birds for decades, Project FeederWatch will keep you going through the winter months.  Project FeederWatch, now in its 36th year, is a joint project of Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Birds Canada that depends on data submitted by volunteers. It is 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. Last year, over 9,000 new participants signed up and discovered the joy of paying close attention to their backyard visitors. Did you know that you don’t even need a feeder to participate in Project FeederWatch? If you have a garden with native plants to attract birds to your outdoor spaces you can still participate.

Project FeederWatch is a winter survey of birds that visit feeders or gardens throughout North America. Everyone is welcome to participate. You don’t need to be an expert birder because resources to help you identify birds are provided. Participants can count birds as often as every week (for as little as 15 minutes each day for 2 consecutive days) or as little as once a season. Participants enter their data onto the FeederWatch website or mobile app. 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 behaviors.

Since 2016, Project FeederWatch has been sponsored by Wild Birds Unlimited, which has a store in Providence Town Center in Collegeville. They will be happy to help you pick out a bird feeder and get you started in bird feeding.  Their Facebook page is full of helpful information as well.

The 2022-23 Project FeederWatch season runs from November 1, 2022 until April 30, 2023. You can sign up and learn how to participate here.  The annual participation fee is $18 for U.S. residents ($15 for Cornell Lab members). These contributions cover materials, staff support, web design, data analysis, and the year-end report (Winter Bird Highlights). Without the support of the participants, this project wouldn’t be possible. If you are new to the program, you can go through the PowerPoint training at your own pace and watch a video from the Cornell team here.

There are VFAS board members who participate in this program and would be happy to answer any questions. Write to us