Karen McCarthy From the beginning Karen remembers always having a bird feeder in the backyard growing up. She wrote, “My grandfather got me interested in birds. He would make up stories about the birds in his yard and mail them to me with little sketches.” As a child Karen painted models of birds. Karen joined Project FeederWatch during its inaugural year in the United States. As if her long-time support of Project FeederWatch were not enough of a contribution, with 18 years of data collection and participant fees, Karen, an area manager for Consumers Energy, has secured several contributions for Project FeederWatch from her employer. She wrote, “I’m fortunate to work for Consumers Energy, whose Foundation recognizes employee volunteers by contributing to qualifying organizations on their behalf.” The Consumers Energy Foundation donated $100 to FeederWatch on Karen’s behalf in 2005. Karen has enjoyed her many years of FeederWatching and reports that counting the birds “makes dishwashing go more quickly!” She also enjoys FeederWatching because “It adds another dimension to the change of seasons and weather and helps scientific research at the same time!”Pileated Woodpecker and Hairy Woodpecker in Karen's yard Karen has passed the bird watching bug on to the next generation. She wrote, “Our son has been counting and identifying birds since pre-school.” He is now a teenager and enjoys FeederWatching with Karen and her husband. Habitat Karen lives in a rural/suburban neighborhood in Ada, Michigan, (east of Grand Rapids) with 1.5 acre lots that are mostly wooded. She says that the snow starts in late fall but usually waits until after Thanksgiving to start accumulating. She wrote, “Sometimes we get a ‘January thaw’ where the snow melts, but otherwise we have several inches on the ground until March, with occasional ice added.” Feeding Tips Karen encourages her fellow FeederWatch participants to take advantage of the FeederWatch web site to help with bird identification and to learn new as well as tested feeding techniques.