Project Feederwatch

The other project that I thought would be a fun thing to do this winter (well really it’s fall/winter/early spring) was Project FeederWatch.  It is managed jointly by The Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Bird Studies Canada.  It is “citizen science” in action!

I’ve had the feeders up for a while, but this winter I decided to add a heated bird bath, which definitely attracted the birds.  It’s not something I thought about too much before, but just where do they get their water in winter?

The hanging feeders have niger seed, mixed seed, black oil sunflower and safflower (the cardinal’s favorite!); as well as suet.  I also have a platform feeder that I put peanuts (and sometimes sunflower seeds) in for the squirrels and anyone else who can get in!

For FeederWatch you pick two consecutive days to monitor your feeder watch area and note the species seen, the weather, and the time you spent watching.  It is quite easy to fit into your schedule since you set your own pace!

What I found is that I have basically the same crew visiting all winter, with a few ups and downs in numbers and the odd “different” species showing up.  I also found out that I should not quit my day job to become a bird photographer!

Here are some action shots:

The hanging feeder set up - and how many of my attempts at photographing the birds on the feeders look!
The hanging feeder set up – and how many of my attempts at photographing the birds on the feeders look!  This was near the beginning of the feeder watch season (not really much snow).
The platform feeder with one of  it's usual customers!  In the last couple of weeks I've also seen the red squirrel there.
The platform feeder with one of it’s usual customers! In the last couple of weeks I’ve also seen the red squirrel there.
To completer the set up - the bird bath.  Obviously, the squirrels enjoyed it too!
To complete the set up – the bird bath. Obviously, the squirrels enjoyed it too!
Wait - some actual birds on the feeders!  A bunch of House Sparrows, a Cardinal and a Red breasted Nuthatch.
Wait – some actual birds on the feeders! A bunch of House Sparrows, and a Cardinal picking up the dropped seeds.
Meanwhile at the platform feeder a Blue Jay actually got a peanut and had time to eat it there!
Meanwhile at the platform feeder a Blue Jay actually got a peanut and had time to eat it there!
Just to show it's not always a flock of House Sparrows hogging the mixed seed feeder!  As well, the Red breasted Nuthatch is on the black oil sunflower seed feeder.
Just to show it’s not always a flock of House Sparrows hogging the mixed seed feeder! As well, the Red breasted Nuthatch is on the black oil sunflower seed feeder.
This is a completely gratuitous shot - but looks how cute this pose is.
This is a completely gratuitous shot – but looks how cute this pose is.

Then, suddenly, it was WINTER….

This is the day it snowed for about 24 hours - I had put peanuts, sunflower seed and mixed seeds into the platform feeder in case the ground feeders didn't want to use the hanging feeders.  The Dark eyed Junco is taking advantage.
This is the day it snowed for about 24 hours – I had put peanuts, sunflower seed and mixed seeds into the platform feeder in case the ground feeders didn’t want to use the hanging feeders. The Dark eyed Junco is taking advantage. (You’d never know I cleared out the snow from the feeder!)
The Junco brought some friends, and they had a meeting....
The Junco brought some friends, and they had a meeting….
This is the best shot I could get of the female Downy Woodpecker.  Both the male and female came to the feeders this winter and neither one would pose nicely!  You can see the Junco eating the bits of suet that dropped as the Woodpecker hammered away.  It turned out that the Juncos will come and use a tube feeder, but I never say the Mourning Doves do this; so if the snow wasn't too deep I put out a bit of seed under the feeder for them.
This is the best shot I could get of the female Downy Woodpecker. Both the male and female came to the feeders this winter and neither one would pose nicely! You can see the Junco eating the bits of suet that dropped as the Woodpecker hammered away. It turned out that the Juncos will come and use a tube feeder, but I never saw the Mourning Doves do this; so if the snow wasn’t too deep I put out a bit of seed under the feeder for them.
A poor cold Mourning Dove, huddled on the birdbath.  I had three visiting my feeders all winter.
A poor cold Mourning Dove, huddled on the birdbath. I had three visiting my feeders all winter.

The Feederwatch season is nearly over for this winter, but if you like feeding the birds you should check it out for next winter!

Yours in birdy-ness….

Valerie

 

 

 

 

 

 

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