One of my favorite winter activities is bird watching, especially when it is cold and blustery outside. We have feeding stations set up all around the house, so that no matter which window we look out we are bound to see a plethora of colorful feathers feasting at the banquet table. I have a number of friends who also love to come over just to sit and watch the birds at our indoor viewing stations.
Project FeederWatch is a joint project out of Cornell Lab for Ornithology and Bird Studies Canada. FeederWatch has been going strong for more than 30 years. FeederWatch season begins today, so it’s the perfect time to get involved. It takes about three weeks for kits to arrive and for an ID number to be activated online. You can even give FeederWatch as a gift. Perfect for that hard-to-buy-for friend or family member.
Project FeederWatch is a program in which people put up a birdfeeder, count the birds that come, and enter data into an internet site that accumulates this data from people across the country. Kits include colorful bird ID sheets, so identification is made much easier. These citizen scientists are helping scientists discover migration trends, wintering habitats for birds, and more.
So, when FeederWatchers submit bird counts, they will see a “Share your story” prompt and an “Enter to Win” button on their county summary page. If you have been participating in FeederWatch for 10, 20, or 30 years, you are eligible for random prize drawings. Too fun!
Last but not least, Wild Birds Unlimited is once again sponsoring the BirdSpotter photo contest. The contest runs from Nov. 12 through March 7, 2019. There are eight photo submission categories, plus a grand prize vote (includes entry winners from all of the subcategories) and the public are the judges. Also, there are FeederWatch Classroom categories and awards. Teachers, what a great way to start these birdwatchers young.
Wild Birds Unlimited is the original and largest franchise system of backyard bird feeding and nature specialty stores with more than 300 locations throughout the United States and Canada. This is the perfect time to invest in a new feeder, upgrade your feeder station, and hunker down for winter. If you have never had birdfeeders before, Wild Birds Unlimited can help you get started. They are knowledgeable about birds, birdfeeding and supplies.
You will not believe how much watching birds coming to your feeders will brighten your winter days, even when it is grey and gloomy outside. I will keep you posted on what birds are visiting my feeders, and if you write me, I’ll also post what birds are visiting Green Space readers. Together, we’ll feed the birds and have a great winter.
Lynn Youngblood is the executive director of the Blue River Watershed Association in Kansas City. Reach her at TheGreenSpace@sbcglobal.net.