Nov 22, 2016 | Featured in: Watching Backyard Birds, December 2016

Did You Know That the Hobby We Love Can Help the Birds?

Pileated woodpeckers, cardinals, and other birds visit a bountiful backyard feeding station.
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You can turn your hobby of watching the birds at your feeder into genuine science by participating in Project FeederWatch. If you can identify all the birds that visit your backyard bird buffet, you're qualified to participate in this, a citizen science project of Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, which runs every November through April. The data collected from across the United States and Canada every winter paint a picture of the abundance and distribution of bird species, and changes over time. The $18 participation fee funds data analysis, the website, and a year-end report, Winter Bird Highlights, but also pays for a starter kit for first-time participants. Does feeding birds harm them? Does it delay migration? How far has house finch eye disease spread? Are Carolina chickadees expanding their range northward? These are some of the questions Project FeederWatch is helping to answer. You can contribute to the data collection. Visit feederwatch.org for more information or to sign up.



About Bill Thompson, III

Bill Thompson, III, was the team captain for Watching Backyard Birds from its inception 23 years ago through his death on March 25, 2019. So much of what he wrote is timeless and remains informative, helpful, and inspiring.

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  • New to birding...newbie question. We spotted what we thought was a Sapsucker at our patio feeders in December. The folks at our birding supply store told us that Sapsuckers are only here in Summer months and what we saw was a Flicker. I thought I new what a Flicker was and this did not look like a Flicker. It was thinner and more smooth looking but did have the Woodpecker Bill.
    by Edmund Steinman, Wed, 08 Jan 2020
  • We just signed up and get your magazine via email. Will we be receiving a printed copy?Ed [email protected]
    by Edmund Steinman, Wed, 08 Jan 2020
  • Chickadees are adorable and intelligent. Chickadees have brains that are the most like human brains. Chickadees are personable, lively, and have their own language. Chickadees form lasting pair bonds; and are very good parents. Love.
    by Merl Elton, Tue, 24 Dec 2019
  • I'm still worried about my backyard birds even though myth #3 says they won't starve if I stop feeding in the middle of winter. I'm concerned because I'm moving in a couple of weeks to a new house and the winter's in northern Ohio get pretty challenging. Should I start backing off slowly on there food or just stop when we move?
    by Vince Bove, Sat, 14 Dec 2019
  • Birds make our world a wonderful and beautiful place to live.
    by Mac Eco, Mon, 09 Dec 2019