Count your birds How to count your birds To ensure that FeederWatch data can be used for scientific research, every FeederWatcher must count birds in the exact same way. For Project FeederWatch you should count birds you see in your count site during the day that are attracted by something that you provide. Here’s how to conduct your two-day count: Keep a tally sheet and field guide handy. Each time you see a species within your count site during your count days, count the number of individuals in view simultaneously and record that number on your tally sheet. (For example, if the first time you look at your feeder you see one Northern Cardinal and two Blue Jays, record these numbers next to their names.) If later during your two-day count you see more individuals of a species in view simultaneously, revise your tally sheet to reflect the larger number. (For example, if later on you see two Northern Cardinals and three Blue Jays, change the number of Northern Cardinals on your tally sheet from one to two, and the number of Blue Jays from two to three.) Do not add your counts together; record only the largest number of individuals of each species in view simultaneously over the two-day count. By following this method you will never report an individual bird more than once. At the end of your two-day count, the largest number of individuals that you saw simultaneously becomes your final tally and the number for each species that you will report to FeederWatch. You will make one report for each two-day count. Record the date and how much time you spent observing birds on your count days. Watch for eye disease in House Finches, Purple Finches, Evening Grosbeaks, and goldfinches, and keep track of how many of each species you see with eye disease at one time during each count. Please count… all of the individuals that are in view simultaneously. For example, if two House Sparrows are on your feeder and six more are waiting their turn in a nearby bush, count all eight. birds that are attracted to your count site because of something you provided or the activity around your feeders even if they do not eat food or take a bath. For example, count birds like Brown Creepers and warblers that forage with feeder birds but don’t necessarily come to your feeders themselves. birds that are attracted to fruits or plantings that you maintain in your count site. Examples include Cedar Waxwings and American Robins. hawks, owls, and other predatory birds, such as roadrunners and shrikes, that are attracted by birds at your feeders, even if the predators are not successful in catching a meal. But don’t count… birds that simply fly over your count site, such as Canada Geese or Sandhill Cranes. birds or mammals that you observe outside of your chosen count days. If you see a bird on a non-count day that you wish to tell us about, you may report the sighting in the comment space where you report your counts or on the Comment Form linked from the right side of the Data Entry home page. birds or mammals that you only hear. birds or mammals that you record with a camera only (only report birds or mammals that you see during your counts). All Counts Are Important FeederWatch participants often stop counting their birds because they believe that their counts are not important. Typically they are seeing the same birds every week, or they are seeing very few or no birds. While we are all thrilled by unusual sightings and high counts, it’s the everyday observations of common birds that are so important for monitoring bird populations. The only way scientists know when birds are missing is if the people seeing no or very few birds tell us. Learn more about why every count matters. Remember if no birds visit your feeders, this information is important. If you see no birds, please select “I watched my feeders, but no birds were present” at the top of your count list when you submit your count. For further information and tips on count procedures, please review Tricky Counts and Special Cases.