Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Join Project Feederwatch (Day 75)

One of the other things I enjoy is birdwatching.  I love watching the birds flit amongst the trees, and help themselves to the seed heads in the garden.  It's amusing to watch them fight among themselves to see who gets first access to freshly-filled bird feeders.  I like keeping track of the types of birds I have seen in my backyard, and use an online tool to keep track.  Observing backyard birds runs in the family - my grandmother used to keep binoculars and her bird book by her back door, in the event that she needed to quickly verify an observation.

I recently ran across a reference to a feeder watching project, designed to help scientists track and monitor winter bird populations.  Called "Project Feederwatch", the Canadian version is a project of Bird Studies Canada, in association with Cornell University (http://www.bsc-eoc.org/volunteer/pfw/index.jsp?targetpg=pfwmore&lang=EN).  Bird populations are a great indicator of environmental health, and winter bird studies allow scientists to monitor introduced species (such as the European Starling) and their effects on native bird populations, as well as get some indication of migratory patterns of birds that summer in the far North, out of reach of many scientific observations.  These studies are then used to help governments and industry shape conservation policies.

It's amazing what a pair of binoculars can do.

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