Sunday, October 19, 2008

Project FeederWatch

Project FeederWatch Benefits Birds and People
Connection with nature promotes wellness

Have you ever participated in this? We're thinking of giving it a try this year.

My hubby is an alumnus of Cornell University, and when we go to Ithaca we try to fit in a visit to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology at Sapsucker Woods (this link gives you a peek at one of those visits). It's a great place for observing birds - either from inside the main building, which has a huge glass wall overlooking a wooded area and pond, or outside on the beautiful woodland trails. We love this fascinating place!
Below is some information, if you're interested, along with a sampling of photos I've taken of some of the birds we see at our feeders, and in the yard during the year.

Purple Finch - male

The 2008-09 season of Project FeederWatch gets underway November 8 and runs through April 3. Participants count the numbers and kinds of birds at their feeders each week and send the information to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Participants submitted more than 115,000 checklists during the 2007-08 FeederWatch season, documenting unusual bird sightings, winter movements, and shifting ranges -­ a treasure trove of information that scientists use to monitor the health of the birds and of the environment.

Tree Swallow

Beyond the benefits to birds and science, however, is the benefit to participants. “Nature is not merely an amenity; it is critical to healthy human development and functioning,” says Nancy Wells, Cornell University assistant professor of design and environmental analysis. Her studies find that a view of nature through the window, or access to the environment in any way, improves a child’s cognitive functioning and reduces the negative effects of stress on the child’s psychological well-being. Wells also notes that when children spend time with nature early in life it carries over to their adult attitudes and behavior toward the environment.

American Goldfinch - male

Project FeederWatch welcomes participants of all ages and skill levels, from scout troops and retirees to classrooms and nature center visitors. To learn more and to sign up, visit or call the Lab toll-free at (800) 843-2473. In return for the $15 fee ($12 for Lab members) participants receive the FeederWatcher’s Handbook, an identification poster of the most common feeder birds in their area, a calendar, complete instructions, and the FeederWatch annual report, Winter Bird Highlights.

Visit the “Explore Data” section of the web site to find the top 25 birds reported in your region, rare bird sightings, and bird summaries by state or province.

White-breasted Nuthatch - male Posted by Picasa

Blue Jay

Mourning Dove

Cardinal - male

Female Cardinal on top of feeder, Red-bellied Woodpecker on left, and House Sparrows on right. Posted by Picasa

Red-bellied Woodpecker - female

Downy Woodpecker - male

Hairy Woodpecker - male (longer beak and larger body than the Downy)

Tufted Titmouse and Downy Woodpecker Posted by Picasa

Tree Sparrow

White-crowned Sparrows

Rose-breasted Grosbeak - male Posted by Picasa

Red-winged Blackbird - male

Female Red-winged Blackbird (front) and Female Cowbird

Cowbirds - male

Chickadees Posted by Picasa

This Chickadee is using a new feeder my dear hubby bought recently as a surprise Christmas present for me......but he decided it was actually for the birds, and they should have it now rather than wait for Christmas :) The surrounding cage keeps the bully birds (Starlings, Grackles, etc.) from eating all the seed that we'd rather see the smaller birds get. It also foils the squirrels.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - male (they've now deserted us for warmer climes) Posted by Picasa

This will be a fun activity to brighten up the winter days, and the little grandsons should enjoy it too, when they come for a visit. Anything that benefits birds and our environment is worth a try, don't you think?

Click this link if you'd like to visit Cornell Lab of Ornithology's website to identify birds and listen to their songs and calls. This is a wonderful source for bird IDs.


Lisa at Greenbow said...[Reply]

Hi Kerri, you have such a diverse selection of birds that come to your garden. I think you would enjoy doing the feeder watch. I always do the IN Audubon feeder watch during winter but haven't actually participated in the Cornell FW. Loved seeing your pictures of birds.

Tabor said...[Reply]

You have such a terrific collection of bird photos. All of them well-done and you also have been able to identify them. Many of my birds end up being either this one or perhaps that one!!

Defining Your Home said...[Reply]

I will check out this FeederWatch program. We've got the NWF Wildlife Certification and the Monarch Waystation. We are big fans of watching and feeding birds. We keep our bird ID books in our garden room. What camera/lens do you use for these photos? Cameron

Roses and Lilacs said...[Reply]

Hi Kerri, I really enjoyed seeing your bird photos. Is the tree sparrow from this fall? I had a junco under my thistle feeder yesterday. They don't usually get here before November.

Barbara said...[Reply]

There are so many different birds coming to your feeder! There's a little envy coming up, Kerri, when seeing these yellow and red colors which the goldfinch and cardinal have. "Our" birds here are not so colorful :-( !!! To be serious again, I also love to watch all the different guests in the garden. In winter and now soon, when the trees have lost their leaves, it is much easier to observe them than in summer...

Kathleen said...[Reply]

I am envious too. I don't have near the diversity of visitors you do Kerri! That's so fabulous. We enjoy feeding the birds at our house and participating in the FeederWatch project sounds interesting. Although I wonder if I need something else to do?? or if I'd remember to write everything down?? Since it doesn't start until Nov there is a little time to think about it, right? I'll have to check out the website tho because it sounds like a good one. Oh, your new birdfeeder looks great too! I just started putting out seed again (after not feeding all summer).

Patsi said...[Reply]

Wonderful photos.
Starlings and grackles come by the dozens and sure are bullies. May join the Cornell feeder watch. I do submit info for the Great Backyard Bird Count,but that's only for a few days in February.
Thanks for the info.

Debbie said...[Reply]

Kerri, I love all your wonderful bird photos. You have a great collection.

We did Project Feeder Watch for many years, but I took a break when our new kids came home. Thanks for reminding me about how fun it is. I think now that the Littles are doing better, it might be a good year to do it again.

mayze said...[Reply]

Hi Kerri, Your bird photos are so clear and beautiful. I'm a little envious. You're an inspiration.

Moi said...[Reply]

loved, loved loved your little birdies.........great shots and what a range of visitors you have :)
I remember your earlier post on husband's friend's studying physics there currently.......if we ever visit him, I sure would make a beeline to their ornithologoy lab :)

will look forward to your bird shots from this winter....

Annie in Austin said...[Reply]

Your feeders have such a huge range of visitors! You're already feeding them, watching them and keeping track with wonderful photos, Kerry! Taking the next step to being part of Project FeederWatch seems like a very small hop.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Naturegirl said...[Reply]

Kerri! How exciting to see such a variety of birds to your neck of the woods...I guess that's why you are close to the woods oh your beautiful wooded scenery! Now I'll go and view your collection of images once again!

Merle said...[Reply]

Dear Kerri ~~ Lovely to hear from you. Your birds are lovely, the birds themselves and your photos. They soon learn where to come for a feed.
I am so gladd you enjoyed the story of Kevin and the jokes. The gout has gone for now, but no doubt it will be back.
Very painful. My pelargoniums are lovely at present and I have about 20 different
varieties. Take good care, my friend, Love, Merle.

C said...[Reply]

hi, my name is chris and i grew up in malone, NY. that's about as upstate as one can get...11 miles from candian border. where do you guys live, i'm anxious to know... i like it when i meet people on here from my neck of the woods. i like your blog and i love the lil birdies. you take beautiful pictures! check out my blog if you'd like;
i really miss our beautiful autumns and the colors.


Sue said...[Reply]

Hi Kerri,
I just recently discovered the fun of blogging. I clicked on a link to your name from reading your comment on Nature Trail's blog. I am so glad I did, because I love your photos! I also recognize some of the people who have made comments here. What a great community!

The birds are great, and it makes me want to start feeding the birds again. I looked at your October bloom day pics, and read what you said, then after that, scrolled down your blog, mostly looking at the pictures. I ended up getting to March! You have a beautiful place there!

I, too, am curious about what kind of camera and lens you use, as I am looking to get a different camera.

Cris said...[Reply]

Hi Kerri, what a beautiful collection of bird pictures, all of them are gorgeous, but the one with Female Cardinal on top of feeder, Red-bellied Woodpecker on left, and House Sparrows on right is unique! Have a nice weekend! xoxo

Kylee said...[Reply]

You have got so many wonderful birds and your photos are just fabulous! We've got many of those same birds here. I should do the Project Feederwatch thing. It sounds like fun.

Apple said...[Reply]

I'm always amazed at the way you get them all to pose so nicely! My next door neighbors have several feeders and I think she and the kids might enjoy this as would my mom. Maybe I'll sign them both up!

Northern Shade said...[Reply]

All of the variety of birds really bring the garden to life. You have a good assortment of feeders to attract them, and they should enjoy your seedheads and berries too.
I find it particularly fascinating to watch their behviour and interactions. As far as behaviour, some of the most entertaining are the crows and jays. They are so clever, and have complex social personalities.

Mountain Mama said...[Reply]

Your bird pictures are great. I have a lot of Purple finches here, They nest in my arborvitae's. Each year there are more. I love watching them and used to have a wionderful BIG feeder that my son made me but it fian;;y fell apart. Now I just have two little ones that hang. Unfortunately the seeds that are dropped attract rats from the neighbors horse barn so I am reluctant to put them out. I probably will when it gets colder though. I just enjoy them so much I know I won't be able to resist!
I have seen birds this year that I haven't seen around here before and I've been her nearly 70 years. I have a few bird ID books but couldn't find them there either.
Maybe I shou;d be looking online.
Thanks for a beautiful and informative post Kerry.
I also want to thank you for your prayers for my niece Teresa if you saw the request in my blog. We are still praying as the blood clots have not dissolved yet.
GOd bless you and yours

em said...[Reply]

kerri, we have much less diversity (in birds, anyway) here downstate! i have never even seen a purple finch! i hope to see more bird photos, since i'm working during the day, i don't see them here anymore.

Titania said...[Reply]

This is a wonderful post Kerri. So many pretty birds coming to your feeders and you know them all!

Alice said...[Reply]

Kerri - you'll be pleased to know that I am passing the hat around to collect money for your next grocery bill. I know that your extended family of feathered friends costs more to feed than you and the Statue, not to mention your furry feline friends (oh, I just did), so I'm sure some financial funding won't go astray.

On second thoughts, our Aussie dollar is scarcely worth anything on the world market these days, so it looks like you'll have to finance the feeding forays yourself.

Seriously, this is a great posting about the benefits of watching the birds 'right under our noses'. Perhaps some of the children at school would enjoy it too - maybe even as a class project?

I love seeing the photos of your visiting birds which, as you know, are so different to ours. Many of them look fairly small and chunky - is that right? Do you have any in the White Cockatoo, black crow, or Parrot size?

I look forward to reading and seeing more of these delightful creatures who brighten your winter days.

Signe said...[Reply]

You have so manny beaytifull bird-pictures. I enjoyed them all.

Thanks For 2 Day said...[Reply]

Kerri, I just found this post as I explored your blog a bit...and wow, you have captured these birds so clearly! We are fortunate enough to have all of the same birds and now that the weather is cold they are coming more frequently for visits. The ones that I've never seen before are: Tree Swallow, White Crowned Sparrow, Tree Sparrow,and Red Winged Blackbird. The purple finch looks different, also. I get purple finches but I think I've only seen the females...never a male as truly purple as this one!
I love bird photos (and flower photos)...almost as much as actually 'being there' to see them! Jan

em said...[Reply]

kerri, this is my most favorite all-time post of yours! i was just revisiting...