The Violet Fern

A Colorful Tale of a Garden in the Making

Project: Project FeederWatch

9 Comments

This will be my third year participating in Project FeederWatch. The season begins in just two days on Saturday, November 13. If you are not familiar with Project FeederWatch, in a nutshell it is a winter-long survey / count of birds throughout North America from November through April. It is operated by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Bird Studies Canada. Data is submitted weekly by FeederWatchers, people like me (or you?) who enjoy watching and feeding wild birds. The data is used to measure changes in the winter ranges and abundances of bird species over time. If you would like to learn more about Project FeederWatch, click here. There is a $15 participation fee.

I have just entered my count site information – a description of the feeding area I have set up and that I will be watching. And, I have put up this year’s calendar – next to last year’s because I like to compare my notes against last year’s. If I had room, I would hang all three years.

Participating in Project FeederWatch has definitely made me a better birder and gardener. There is still much I need to learn but I can now better identify birds by parts (i.e. head, wing, tail, etc.), habit, size and shape, and more. Even if you do not participate, there is much to learn from their website. You could also use your own calendar to take notes. I tend to also include notes about the garden as well as the birds such as when the first crocus bloomed, or when the first fall frost occurred. Counting birds each week has made me more aware of birds’ habits and of areas where I can improve my garden to better serve them. It also helps me to count my way through winter! Learning more about birds has also helped me to decide on which plants to include in my new gardens. Plants that make the top of the list usually offer some type of natural food source or nesting preference for birds. Gardening organically ensures that I have plenty of insects for birds.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is fairly close to me, so last fall my husband and I took a trip and visited there. I wanted to see first hand the lab responsible for Project FeederWatch.
The observatory is a wonderful space – big, open, made for … well, observing and viewing! If I lived closer, bird watching there would be one of my favorite, habitual pastimes. Virtually, you can enjoy their live cams.
View of pond and Sapsucker Woods
View of feeding station.
We also hiked the trails through Sapsucker Woods Sanctuary.
Do you think it is appropriately named?
I encourage you to join Project FeederWatch if you enjoy wild birds. At the very least, if you don’t already, try keeping a calendar and noting when certain species fly through or when you have seen a bird in your garden that you’ve never seen before.
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Author: Kathy Sturr

Author of the Violet Fern blog, artist, and master gardener.

9 thoughts on “Project: Project FeederWatch

  1. Yay! I'll join! This is too cool?? Thank you so much for this post, I needed a birding project beyond my own observation!!! You rock!

  2. I signed up! Pop over to my site and see why I'm so excited…I just posted last night after I saw your comment…whoot whoo!

  3. This is a great project! I wish I could join too

  4. I did not know about Project Feeder Watch. I participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count every year – but that's only for 3 or 4 days. This sounds great!Heather

  5. What a wonderful project. I enjoy seeing the birds visit my feeder just outside my kitchen window. I have my bird book ready in case I get some unusual visitors 🙂

  6. great project, there is something like that here, I must admit I haven't yet joined up.

  7. We, too have enjoyed watching the birds at the feeder. How wonderful of you to help out with this project! I am just starting to recognize birds and remember what types they are. Maybe once I am more familiar, I can join in. How funny that you mention Mountain Rose herbs on my blog, I was just watching YouTube videos this morning of how to make herbal tinctures etc. I will have to check them out and see what they have. It is always good to have a trusted reference! Thanks for stopping by my blog to leave a comment. Always good to hear from you!

  8. Great project, and what a wonderful facility to visit! How lucky you have it so close. That great room with the chairs facing the pond is amazing. I enjoyed clicking the pic for a more immersive view.

  9. Thank you. I am glad that some of you found something new. I made my first count over the weekend and was surprised to see a red-winged black bird. I thought they had all left by now.

Thank you for joining me in the making of my garden!

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