Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 53

The Naturalist's Eye
By Marcia Bonta

The author signed on for the citizen science project,
Project FeederWatch, developed by the Cornell Lab of
Ornithology, to monitor the bird species at her feeders.
This project enables ornithologists to better understand the
distribution of wintering birds and to track diseases.

T

HE DAY AFTER I cleared the
trails of branches brought down by
Hurricane Sandy, I hung my birdfeeders
up for the first time since the previous
April. Because bears live on our
mountain, I never tempt them with
birdseed, having learned years ago that
they will go to great lengths to make
a meal of it and, in the process, tear
feeders apart.
Even so, I bring them in every night
until mid-December and again in
March and early April.
I only put the feeders out as early
as November because I am a veteran
Project FeederWatch participant,
having signed on for this citizen science
project, developed by the Cornell Lab
of Ornithology, the first year it was
offered. Last fall was its and my 26th
season, and it began on November
10. (This year's Project FeederWatch
begins on Nov. 9.)
Anyone can join this continentwide effort by paying a small fee and
either sending in paper copies of their
count or doing it online at the Lab's
website www.feederwatch.org. If the

NOVEMBER 2013

former, feeder watchers count birds at
and near their feeders two consecutive
days every two weeks. If the latter, as I
do, I can count birds two consecutive
days every week. Because I have a
reasonably small and simple set-up,
mostly I glance out my back kitchen
door window and keep a tally card
nearby.
The idea is to count the maximum
number of each species that I see at one
time during my count days. Folks with
larger and more elaborate feeding areas
containing numerous feeders, sources
of water and plantings can report all
the species attracted to their much
larger count site.
In addition to reporting the birds I
see, the report asks for when and how
long I counted, the depth of snow and/
or ice, the kind and length of time of
any precipitation, and the low and high
temperatures of the days. Once a season
I also fill out a detailed description of
my count site including the habitat
within a half mile, elevation, the kinds
of food I supply for the birds, and the
plantings and water sources within 100
53


http://www.feederwatch.org

Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013

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Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 2
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Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - BB1
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - BB2
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - Cover4
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