Rene Prochelle Rene visiting the Lab's feeder garden in 2004. Photo by Diane Tessagila-Hymes. Rene Prochelle of Port Chester, New York, is one of Project FeederWatch’s first participants, joining in 1987. He was born in Chile and has been interested in birds since he was young. He said, “I saw my first Andean condor sail over the peaks of the Andes. No word to describe it. That did it.” He read about Project FeederWatch in Bird Watchers Digest and liked the idea of doing something for birds while also learning about them. In 2004, Rene came to Ithaca, New York, to visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s new building. While he was here, he visited with FeederWatch staff and was photographed in the Lab’s feeder garden (left). Rene is now retired after working for 41 years in international transportation (steamship lines, cargo ships). He found this work facinating as it gave him the chance to see various places throughout the world. Living in a suburban home with a large hemlock hedge in back, Rene watches his feeders through a large cathedral window in his dining area. He wrote, “I have a sheltie that always comes with me. She has graduated from bird chaser to reluctant bird watcher!” Feeding area Rene has two suet cages, three nyjer seed feeders, two mixed-seed feeders, four black-oil sunflower feeders, and two bird baths. Favorite bird Although Rene likes all birds, he is especially fond of the Black-capped Chickadee because it was the first bird that came to his feeders on his first FeederWatch day. Observing local trends According to Rene’s own statitistics, from the 1989–1990 FeederWatch season through the 2003–2004 season, House Sparrows were his most abundant feeder visitor, followed by slate-colored Dark-eyed Juncos. But House Sparrows have been declining the last three years and juncos are now number one in abundance in his yard, followed by American Goldfinches.