Not only has Roger been participating in Project FeederWatch since it began in its current form, but he participated in the Ontario Bird Feeder Survey for 5 years before that. In 1976 the Ontario Bird Feeder Survey was created by Erica Dunn at what was then Long Point Bird Observatory (now Bird Studies Canada). In 1987 the survey was expanded and turned into Project FeederWatch (learn more about the history of FeederWatch). Roger joined the project in 1981 after being introduced to it by a cousin.
Birding has always played a role in Roger’s life. Several people fostered his interest in birds when he was growing up in England: a family friend who took him on nature walks in the park on Sunday afternoons, a grandfather who pointed out birds, and his mother who bought him a bird book. After moving to Canada when he was 26, he enrolled in a bird identification course and his interest in birding flourished.
His Feederwatch location has changed three times over the years—from southern Ontario to Northwestern Ontario to his current location in Parksville, British Columbia. Roger has a number of feeders, including a homemade platform feeder and two hummingbird feeders. He keeps his feeders filled with suet, peanut halves, a mix of sunflower chips and nyjer seeds, and a seed mix from a local bird store. He also provides water. His site is at the edge of a suburb close to lots of conifer trees as well as deciduous and cedar hedges.
Roger usually sees between 8 and 17 species including finches, sparrow, woodpeckers, Eurasian Collared-Doves, California Quail, Stellers’s Jays, and Northern Flickers, plus Sharp-shinned and Cooper’s Hawks. He doesn’t have any favorites, but his most common is Dark-eyed Junco, his most unusual is Northern Shrike, and the first bird he usually sees on his counts is Anna’s Hummingbird.
Other bird-related activities
Roger has participated in the Great Backyard Bird Count, Great Canadian Birdathon, and Coastal Waterbird Surveys. He has led bird outings for Arrowsmith Naturalists, Brant Goose Surveys (bi-weekly February through April), and Brant Wildlife Festival in March and April. And he goes birding on his own most Sundays.
The value of FeederWatching
Roger likes to see what birds are visiting his feeders, and he likes knowing that his observations are helping researchers. He noted that it can be as expensive or as inexpensive as you want. “It is an easy hobby. Just watch birds at your feeders over 2 days…. I really enjoy it,” he wrote.