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Friday, January 27, 2006

Birds At The Feeder

Thursdays and Fridays are days we count birds at our feeder for Project Feeder Watch--a joint research project of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, Audubon, Bird Studies Canada, and Nature Canada. Basically, we have to report the highest number of individuals of each species that we are able to see at our feeders at one time during the two day count period. Just now, my 10 minutes at the window netted me a birder's dozen:

Mourning Dove 4
Blue Jay 4
House Finch 6
White-crowned Sparrow 10
Dark-eyed Junco 8
Red-bellied Woodpecker 1
Downy Woodpecker 1
Carolina Chickadee 2
Tufted Titmouse 1
White-breasted Nuthatch 1
Northern Cardinal 3
American Goldfinch 1

The goal during periodic visits to the window the rest of the day will be to see if I can see a higher number of each of these species, or find additional species. Its kind of a game, but the results from thousands of such sightings, across the country, for many years, is helping us better understand the winter ecology of our winter birds. A good book that came out a few years ago, based on Project Feeder Watch data, is Birds At Your Feeder, by Erica Dunn et al. If you aren't a Project Feeder Watch participant, check it out and give it a try. Its a lot of fun!

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