I have just entered my count site information - a description of the feeding area I have set up and that I will be watching. And, I have put up this year's calendar - next to last year's because I like to compare my notes against last year's. If I had room, I would hang all three years.
Participating in Project FeederWatch has definitely made me a better birder and gardener. There is still much I need to learn but I can now better identify birds by parts (i.e. head, wing, tail, etc.), habit, size and shape, and more. Even if you do not participate, there is much to learn from their website. You could also use your own calendar to take notes. I tend to also include notes about the garden as well as the birds such as when the first crocus bloomed, or when the first fall frost occurred. Counting birds each week has made me more aware of birds' habits and of areas where I can improve my garden to better serve them. It also helps me to count my way through winter! Learning more about birds has also helped me to decide on which plants to include in my new gardens. Plants that make the top of the list usually offer some type of natural food source or nesting preference for birds. Gardening organically ensures that I have plenty of insects for birds.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is fairly close to me, so last fall my husband and I took a trip and visited there. I wanted to see first hand the lab responsible for Project FeederWatch.
The observatory is a wonderful space - big, open, made for ... well, observing and viewing! If I lived closer, bird watching there would be one of my favorite, habitual pastimes. Virtually, you can enjoy their live cams.
|View of pond and Sapsucker Woods|
|View of feeding station.|
We also hiked the trails through Sapsucker Woods Sanctuary.
Do you think it is appropriately named?
I encourage you to join Project FeederWatch if you enjoy wild birds. At the very least, if you don't already, try keeping a calendar and noting when certain species fly through or when you have seen a bird in your garden that you've never seen before.