Please refer to our detailed instructions before submitting any data. Thank you!
- Sign up – If you have not yet signed up, join today! During the season, it takes a few weeks from when you sign up for your kit to arrive, but you can begin counting right away.
- Select your count site – Choose a portion of your yard that is easy to monitor, typically an area with feeders that is visible from one vantage point. Even if you don’t provide feeders, you can still count birds for FeederWatch.
- Choose your count days – Select two consecutive days as often as once a week. Less often is fine. Even if you only count once all winter, your data are valuable. Leave at least five days when you do not count between each of your two-day counts.
- How to count – Watch your feeders for any amount of time over your selected count days. For every species you can identify, record the maximum number of individuals visible simultaneously during your two-day count. Keep one tally across both days. Do not add day 1 and day 2 counts together.
- What to count – Please count
- birds attracted to food or water you provided
- birds attracted to fruits or plantings you maintain
- hawks and other predatory birds that are attracted by the birds at your feeders
But do not count
- birds that simply fly over the count site, such as Canada Geese or Sandhill Cranes.
- birds seen on non-count days
- Report your counts – Submit counts through the Your Data section of our website.
All counts are important
FeederWatch participants often stop counting their birds because they believe that their counts are not important. Typically they are seeing the same birds every week, or they are seeing very few or no birds. While some FeederWatchers see amazing birds, a wide variety of species, or large numbers of birds, most FeederWatchers see low numbers of what might be characterized as “predictable” birds. These counts are the heart of FeederWatch. Focusing on the extreme cases would provide a biased view of bird populations, and ignoring the common birds could be a major mistake. While we are all thrilled by unusual sightings and high counts, it’s the everyday observations of common birds that are so important for monitoring bird populations. Learn more about why every count matters.