Find out what Project FeederWatch is, its history, and more
Find out how you FeederWatch, when you can FeederWatch, and what you'll need to do to get started
Review these instructions carefully before you count and enter data
Find out about types of feeders and types of foods, and where to place your feeder
Feeding Birds FAQs
Explore the winter distribution, food, and feeder preferences of common feeder birds.
Find out about color and plumage variations, bald heads, and deformed bills
Unusual Birds Gallery
Find out about bird disease and identifying the signs of bird disease
Sick Birds Gallery
Find out how to identify birds and download identification tools
Learn how to help birds as they seek out food sources, nesting habitat, protection, and more
Find educational resources for teachers, group leaders, and families
Find an article archive packed with lots of great bird study information
Learn about house finch eye disease
Review content from current and past BirdSpotter photo contests
Keep up to date with the latest FeederWatch happenings
These are exemplary FeederWatchers!
Send us your photos! Show us your count site, your birds, or you watching your site with loved ones!
Visit our live FeederWatch feedercams!
Cornell Lab of Ornithology feeders
Ontario (winter only)
See what birds occur the most by region
Explore species by state/province
See where FeederWatchers are
Graphs of regional population trends and distributions
Explore papers that have used FeederWatch data
Lab scientists analyze the data submitted by FeederWatch participants.
See birds well outside their winter range submitted to Project FeederWatch.
Start here for data entry and personal data review and exploration
Keep live track of your counts using the FeederWatch mobile app
© Gord Belyea
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Project FeederWatch can help engage children in the excitement of nature study and the wonder of scientific investigation by
The FeederWatch Classroom Guide, created by the Cornell Lab’s K-12 Education team, helps educators engage their students in scientific research by providing the necessary tools and skills to help monitor bird communities in the U.S. and Canada. This 17-page guide can be downloaded for free and provides step-by-step instructions on how to participate in Project FeederWatch, six fun activities to support classroom learning, along with additional tools and teaching tips. Download the FeederWatch Classroom Guide here, or visit the K-12 Education website here to check out the supplemental and electronic resources for the guide.
Thanks to a generous gift from the family of FeederWatch participant John Waud, in honor of his late wife Doris Waud, 50 schools a year will be able to participate in Project FeederWatch without a participation fee. Doris, a long-time public school teacher, was actively involved in the creation of Classroom FeederWatch at the Cornell Lab. That project has since evolved into BirdSleuth and now K-12 Education. Doris lost her battle with cancer and her family wanted to honor her with a gift that would allow schools to participate in the project Doris loved and helped bring into so many classrooms.
Applications for the 2023-2024 season are now closed, but if you are teaching in the U.S. and would like to sign up for the 2023-24 FeederWatch season, you may use the coupon code PFWEDU in our online store for a $5 discount on the registration fee. Please check this page again next spring to apply for full funding for the 2024-25 FeederWatch season. The application period typically runs from late spring to mid-summer, and you need only provide your contact information and a few details about how you intend to use FeederWatch in your classroom. We select at least 50 schools every year to participate for free. Funding recipients are asked to share stories and ideas, some of which we will post on the FeederWatch blog to give other teachers ideas about how to put FeederWatch to use in the classroom. We hope you enjoy this opportunity, and we look forward to hearing about your students’ FeederWatch experiences.
Each year educational groups participate in Project FeederWatch. Scout troops use the project to help meet the requirements for the Bird Study Merit Badge. For example, Project FeederWatch can help scouts learn to identify 20 species–the 5th requirement for the Bird Study badge. The project can also help Girl Scouts earn their Wildlife Badge as well as an All About Birds Interest Project Award.
Other groups participate as a way to learn more about birds and nature. One 4-H student won a science award based on her FeederWatch participation and represented her state at the National 4-H Congress. Read her story.
A group can choose a single count site location and observe together or observe on a rotating schedule. For example, some groups gather and count together while other groups schedule group members to count at different times, extending the amount of time the site is observed. All members share a single tally, often using a white board. With this option, only one registration is required since only one set of data will be submitted for the single location. The group can register under one name or the name of an institution, if they are counting from a nature center or school, for example. If you plan to count from an institution, please check to be sure the institution isn’t already participating. If data submission will be shared between multiple group members, we recommend signing up with an email address that the representatives have access to and using that same email address to create an account that can be shared with all who might submit counts in the current season or in the future.
If you are an educational group leader, you may use the coupon code PFWEDU in our online store for a $5 discount on the registration fee.
The group can provide bird identification and bird feeding information to its members, and each group member can participate in Project FeederWatch from their own feeder sites. Any group in the U.S. with an educational component can take advantage of the educational discount. Have each participant in your group sign up with the coupon code GROUPRATE in our online store to receive a $5 discount.
Many teachers at a variety of grade levels have incorporated Project FeederWatch into their classes or programs. If you are teaching in the U.S. and would like to sign up for FeederWatch, you may use the coupon code PFWEDU in our online store for a $5 discount on the registration fee. Here are stories from some of the teachers who have participated in Project FeederWatch with students at their schools.
Guilderland, New York
At a time when technology inundates our lives, it can be difficult to connect with the natural world. Jennifer Ford, a teacher at Farnsworth Middle School, has put FeederWatch to use in her classroom to do just that: connect students with nature and science in a very tangible way.
Students in Jennifer Ford's classroom (Farnsworth Middle School, Guilderland, New York) count birds for FeederWatch. They are so engaged, she had to create a sign-up sheet to ensure everyone gets a window seat! Photo by Jennifer Ford.
Jennifer wrote to us and said, “I have been doing Project FeederWatch with my 8th grade students for 3 years now. This year, so many students were showing up during study hall, lunch, and after school that I had to start a sign up sheet to make sure everyone was able to have space at a window to watch the feeders. Here is a picture of a group of my students watching our feeders. Thank you for this program—it is such a wonderful way to get students involved in science!”
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Dennis Demcheck, a volunteer in Pamela Fry’s 4th grade science class at Westdale Heights Academic Magnet School, put together a slide show of student drawings inspired by their classes FeederWatch participation. Dennis wrote, “Several science teachers … have come to me and remarked that the students’ intense interest in birds … has sparked a wider interest in science.” Read more and see the slide show on the FeederWatch blog.
Graduate student helps middle schoolers FeederWatch in Maine
The National Science Foundation’s Graduate Teaching Fellows program at the University of Maine places graduate students in K-12 science and technology classes to enhance the level of interest and quality. Students from four Maine schools participated in Project FeederWatch under the guidance of graduate student Brent Horton, who also showed students how birds are banded.
Students spark curiosity with this feeder design challenge that connects youth to nature through birds and can serve as an entry to science inquiry projects. Designing and building a bird feeder helps local birds, fuels students’ curiosity and engineering skills as they envision the ideal feeder, and fosters collaboration as they work together to plan, test, and refine their creations. Download the Feeder Design Challenge Guide here.
You can investigate an array of natural mysteries while participating in Project FeederWatch. The following FeederWatch-related activities have been contributed by educators across the continent. They are designed to strengthen such skills as observation, identification, research, computation, writing, creativity, and more.