The line from Mary Poppins was, "Feed the birds and what do you get? Fat Birds." Well maybe not. Maybe you get a lot of information that is important to the planet, which you can share with others. Plus you can watch every feeder that has installed a webcam.
I am describing briefly an article I read in the Sunday Star about a type of citizen science. The article outlines a joint program between, Bird Studies Canada and the Ithaca, NY based Cornell Lab of Ornithology called, ProjectFeederWatch. Basically thousands of people who enjoy bird watching help collect information about migration patterns, population numbers, irruptions and more. By joining the organization you agree to collect specific information at certain specified times. Ironically, although they would like more people to join, there is a fee of $35.00.
The fee, however, does give you access to their interactive site where you can share your bird stories and pictures with others and watch any feeder with a webcam set up. Last year 2,800 people joined from Canada and 17,000 from the US. The fee also entitles you to 4 issues of BirdWatch Canada, a poster, a calendar, instructional booklet, handbook with IDs and much more. The program runs from now until April 4, 2014. You don't have to be an expert to join; all are welcome. They even provide a toll free number for more information, 1-888-448-2473. However, you can easily sign up online at birdscanada.org/pfw.html. It may be worth the $35.00 when you are snow bound in January, you can go onto the site, which the author of the article suggests is one of the most beautiful on the web, and just enjoy the vibe or rush :)
This idea deserves a tweet!
The picture? I hope that you can see the small bell of bird seed attached to the roof of the shed. I'm going to try again to feed the birds. We've had feeders in the past and all they attracted were squirrels and raccoons. If this works, I may go for a proper bird feeder and join BWC. I'll let you know :)
Have a wonderful day!!