November 8, 2014 was the start date of this season’s annual Project FeederWatch – a winter-long survey (November – April) of birds visiting feeders in North America.  This program is hosted by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Bird Studies Canada.  According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website, the purpose of the program is to “help scientists track broadscale movements of winter bird populations and long-term trends in bird distribution and abundance”.

Participants, during two consecutive days each week, record the total number of a given species found at their feeder(s) at one time.  So for instance, if I were to see 10 Gray-crowned Rosy-finches at my feeder at 10:00 am on count day, and then an hour later count 75 Gray-crowned Rosy-finches (yes, that many have visited my feeder in the past) I would record the 75 Gray-crowned Rosy-finches observed for that day.

Participants are also asked to record additional information during the count period, such as temperature, precipitation, amount of snow/ice on the ground, and how much time spent observing one’s feeder .

If you enjoy feeding and watching birds, why not help contribute to science by recording and reporting information about what birds come to your feeder.  Become one of about 20,0000 citizen scientist participating in Project FeederWatch.  There is a cost for participating:  $18 for U.S. Residents and $15.00 if you are a Cornell Lab of Ornithology member.  The cost goes to cover expenses associated with operating the program.  For more information go to:

A balmy day near Homer.  November 12, and no snow.

Pine Grosbeaks at a my feeder on a balmy day (44 degrees F) near Homer, Alaska. November 12, and no snow.

Birds I typically get at my feeder in the winter include Pine Grosbeaks, Gray-crowned Rosy-finches (generally when it is really storming outside), Common Redpolls, Gray Jays, Black-billed Magpies, and an occasional Black-capped Chickadee. Not many species (of course, I live at around 1400 feet elevation), but I have had up to around 250 Gray-crowned Rosy-finches at my feeder at one time.  Pretty amazing to watch these birds flit about and not hit my windows (a future blog).  They always seem to be on the move, and you have to wonder if they even have time to get any food. Maybe only a few do at a time.  Happy feeder watching.

Gray-crowned Rosy-finches at feeder in the winter of 2009-2010

Gray-crowned Rosy-finches at feeder in the winter of 2009-2010