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
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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.
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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
Find educational resources and examples and home school curriculum here
Find an article archive packed with lots of great bird study information
Learn about house finch eye disease
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These are exemplary FeederWatchers!
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Graphs of regional population trends and distributions
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Lab scientists analyze the data submitted by FeederWatch participants.
See birds well outside their winter range submitted to Project FeederWatch.
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© Gord Belyea
Project FeederWatch can help engage children in the excitement of nature study and the wonder of scientific investigation by
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 2020-2021 season are now closed. If you are a teacher and would like to apply, please check back here next spring. To apply, you need only provide your contact information and a few details about how you intend to use FeederWatch in your classroom. We will select 50 schools every year to participate for free, and we will post stories on the FeederWatch blog from those schools 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.
Many teachers at a variety of grade levels have incorporated Project FeederWatch into their classrooms. Here are some of their stories…
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.
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.
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 bird feeding location to observe together or to observe on a rotating schedule. For example, some groups work together to count birds at a local nature center. 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 in the case of a nature center, the group can register under the name of the nature center if the center is not already registered. The group representative or the nature center will receive a Research Kit and our annual publication, Winter Bird Highlights.
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. For example, a researcher used Project FeederWatch at a large boarding school in Maine, where students participated at each of their residences. Most groups are more informal, though, and any group in the U.S. with an educational component can qualify for a group rate when six or more participants are registered, according to the following fee schedule:
1-5 participants = $18 per participant
6-10 participants = $15 per participant
11+ participants = $12 per participant
With this option, each participant receives their own Research Kit and our annual publication, Winter Bird Highlights.
In order to qualify for the discount, a group leader or sponsor must fill out a group rate order form (below) and send it to Project FeederWatch along with the names and addresses of the group members who wish to participate and a single payment for the entire group. All group members must submit their data through the FeederWatch web site.
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.