Cornell University’s Lab of Ornithology has just begun its 24th year of Project FeederWatch. This annual winter citizen science program asks participants to maintain bird feeders in a clearly defined observational area, like your backyard view from the kitchen window, and count maximum numbers of identifiable birds on selected observation days.
The observational period runs from November 13 through April 8, and anyone may still register to get involved in the 2010-2011 season. Registration may be quickly completed online and costs $15. With this fee, you will receive an observational kit including a bird-identification poster, bird-feeding information, and instructional materials.
The data collected from participating citizen scientists is extremely valuable for monitoring the distribution of winter birds all over North America. And, because the program requests reporting to be completed every week, if possible, a very detailed and dynamic view of bird populations can be developed during the observational period.
The FeederWatch project is a perfect opportunity for anyone who is a casual backyard bird watcher to take only a small step to observing birds at the next level. The information provided to the Lab or Ornithology will be used by engaged researchers who are dedicated to monitoring and protecting our avian friends.
This program also offers a great educational experience for families to enjoy together at home. Through making observational identifications (which is made much easier with the provided poster and additional online resources–see All About Birds), recording and submitting data, and reviewing and exploring current data online, young learners will have a self-guided experience to develop critical skills along with a new appreciation for nature and the scientific process.
Dynamic Patterns Research has just registered with Project FeederWatch, so we will be participating in the current season. After our first observational days and reporting has been completed, we will post our results and experience here on DPR.
If you are also participating, please let us know by commenting below or contact us. We would like to share your observations with brief summaries here on Dynamic Patterns Research to report on active citizen scientists and their efforts and experiences.
Learn more about Project FeederWatch
Learn about Project FeederWatch’s resources for homeschooling families.
Register Now for Project FeederWatch 2010-2011 Season