Ida Sheppard of Cassville, New York, joined Project FeederWatch 20 years ago. Ida’s interest in birding began when she discovered the simple pleasure of watching her backyard birds. She began Project FeederWatch at a time when flocks of Evening Grosbeaks were still prevalent across the region.
Like many of our long-time participants, Ida notes, “I have not seen any grosbeaks in years, and I miss them.” The decline in the Evening Grosbeak population has been documented with the help of long-term data from FeederWatch. Cornell Lab scientists are able to document the extent of declines and to map the changes in distribution of wintering populations. Read more about Evening Grosbeaks and see a map of changes in the birds abundance and distribution.
Ida provides her feathered friends with a variety of foods including black-oil sunflower seeds, suet, and millet. In the summer she puts out oranges for her summer visitors, which include Baltimore Orioles. Ida reports that in winter her feeders attract the species typically seen at feeders in the Northeast, including her most common visitor, the Dark-eyed Junco. Her favorite bird is the Northern Cardinal, and her most unusual bird is the Red-bellied Woodpecker—a species that has been expanding its range northward in recent years.