Thursday, January 31, 2008

Project FeederWatch Post

Project Feeder Watch
Sponsored by Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Just look at this cute little Red-breasted Nuthatch below.
He's only about 2/3 the size of the White-breasted Nuthatch more commonly seen.
I try very hard to watch my bird feeders for periods of time on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Below you can see a Flicker, a Black-capped Chickadee and a White-breasted Nuthatch.
Project FeederWatch is a good outlet for people who like to feed birds, learn about them, and keep track of the different variety at their feeders. In other words, it gives a legitimate excuse for taking time to watch the bird feeders! :-)

Below is a male Northern Cardinal.
Project FeederWatch depends upon volunteers in Canada and the United States to monitor the presence of the Winter birds at their feeders from November through April 4. Much information is gleaned from the weekly/biweekly observations as to the numbers of birds, changes in the population, unusual sightings, etc. There is a nominal fee to join, meant to defray expenses. Participants also receive an informational journal by mail.

Here are two White-breasted Nuthatches and a Black-capped Chickadee.

I've just downloaded the a copy of the Winter Bird Highlights 2006/2007 publication. After breaking the continent into zones, they compiled graphs listing the top 25 birds sighted within each zone and the average numbers of each variety sighted at a feeder at a time. There is so much more information, as well.

Reporting upon the variety of birds at your bird feeder means that you monitor the number of birds of each variety that you see at or around your specific feeder/s at one time. If the number of these particular birds increase (or decrease) at any one time, you indicate the greatest number you've seen at one time together, that day of that variety. After a two-day recording time, you Never combine the numbers. You only report the highest number of each variety of bird seen at your feeder/s on either of the two days. I thought I'd give you an example of what I've seen these past two days. Bear in mind that due to the fact that I've only a total of less than an hour for my observations this time.

January 30/31
Flicker: 1 Downy Woodpecker: 2
Blue Jay: 3 American Goldfinch: 10
Northern Cardinal: 5 Black-capped Chickadee: 3
Tufted Titmouse: 1 White-breasted Nuthatch: 2
House Finch: 3 Red-breasted Nuthatch: 1
House Sparrows: 20 Dark-eyed Junco: 15
Mourning Dove: 6 Red-bellied Woodpecker: 1
Hairy Woodpecker: 0

I was a late-comer to this project. My first report was the first week or so in January. Never let it be said that you can second-guess anything! I remember thinking, during my second week of FeederWatch, that I probably wouldn't seen anything new... just more or less of the birds I usually see. Boy, was I wrong. The Lord, in creating the great diversity of bird, smiled at me the next week. I saw a Rufous-sided Towhee! And the next week, another surprise: A Sharp-shinned Hawk. There you go. Don't take anything for granted - be ready for those pleasant surprises! LOL!

Nothing "Shady" here! ;-)

Oh! I might add that just as I was ready to photograph a squirrel drinking from my Heated Bird Bath, he jumped off. I'll try again.


Connie said...

Sounds like a good way to pass the winter months! I would love to see a red pretty! But sadly, we don't have them here.

Shady Gardener said...

Connie, It is fun. On the other hand, you're able to enjoy flora and fauna that we don't have. (That's why these blogs are nice, and traveling is even nicer!) ;-)
I'm wishing I hadn't compressed my photos quite so much. I could edit the post, compress the original photos at a "documents" setting which is still large enough that you can a lot of detail. (For example, you could see the seed in the nuthatch's beak!) It sounds like a lot of work, though! :-/

No Rain said...

I just now noticed your blog on the GTS blogroll. I've enjoyed my visit and will be back!

Shady Gardener said...

No Rain,
Return any time! ;-)

Anonymous said...

Project Feeder Watch is a good way to help make it through the winter. The problem in our yard is that all of the birds seem to want to show up on the days I an NOT counting...

Great post, keep up the good work.