The Feeder Flock is a new closed group on Facebook for 18-35 year olds who feed wild birds. The group is being run as a trial from Fall 2018 – Fall 2019 (at which point we will decide upon its future). Look for the link at the bottom of the page to join the group, or visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/FeederFlock/!
WHAT CURRENT MEMBERS ARE SAYING
“It’s so refreshing to see so many birders my age. I’ve been doing this for a long time, and in my town I only know 1 other birder my age, mostly old folks (which is nice too), but I’m excited to meet more bird nerds. I can give my family a break from all of my random bird info.”
“I appreciate the information I have learned from this group and the willingness of everyone to assist.”
“I just have to say how happy I am to have found this group ❤️ thank you all for sharing your experiences and your advice! I know social media isn’t always cast in a positive light, but groups like this provide such great interactions and networking opportunities. I appreciate you all!”
“I love this group! As an 18 yr old newbie birder, I’m a bit ostracized by most due to my interests. It’s so nice to be in a group full of young and enthusiastic birders. Everyone is always so helpful in answering my seemingly stupid or repetitive questions; I’ve learned so much from y’all in just a few short months.”
“The best part is knowing that there are other young birders/avian enthusiasts out there. Most of the time on my end, I only run into other birders my age on global big day.”
“I love this group because people think birding is for “old people”, and it shows that birding is actually a super cool hobby that anyone can take part in! I also love seeing the photos and reports from people in different parts of the world.”
“It’s nice to have a group that understands the struggles of millennial life, the mannerisms of the internet (meme or otherwise), and just being able to share sightings with other folks my age passionate about our feathered friends.”
“I love being part of the kindness and camaraderie of this group.”
In late 2017 we interviewed 72 young adults across the U.S. who enjoy feeding birds in their backyards. We asked them what they like and don’t like about feeding birds, and what they see as the benefits and drawbacks. We also asked about who they talk to about the birds they see at their feeders. What came as a surprise to us was the number of interviewees who said they wished they could talk to more people in their own age group about birds and bird feeding. Many of the groups they see online are made up of … well, people who are older than them!
The group is being established to help connect young adults across North America and create a space where they can talk about the birds they see, share stories and images, learn more, and have a bit of fun. We have involved many of the interviewees in the development of this group, including suggesting and voting on the group name, and telling us what type of content they want to see. We are very grateful for all their input – it certainly wouldn’t be the same without this important feedback! For this reason, we are also continuing to monitor the group for research purposes and will take the opportunity to ask research questions within the group from time-to-time. More information about the research can be found below.
To evaluate the success of The Feeder Flock, the interactions of this group will be monitored and used in research related to community building and participation in citizen science. From time to time, we will ask the group some research questions, too. Answering those questions is optional – but we would really love as much feedback as possible! This information will help us to improve the way we can support younger adults and their love of bird feeding.
GROUP MEMBER’S PRIVACY IS OUR PRIORITY! Member’s names and activity will remain anonymous outside of the group and in any future publications. When people request to join this group, they will be asked for their consent to participate in this research.
The research has been approved by Cornell University’s Institutional Review Board (Protocol # 1708007362, Project title: “Engaging new audiences in citizen science.”).
CODE OF CONDUCT
By requesting to join this group, members are agreeing to the following code of conduct (also displayed in the Group Rules on the Facebook page):
- WILD BIRDS ONLY. This group is solely focused on wild, backyard birds. This means no posts about beloved pets or birds that aren’t seen at or near a feeding location.
- 18-35 YEAR-OLDS ONLY. Unfortunately, because the interactions of this closed group are monitored for research purposes, members must be between the ages of 18 – 35 years. This is a trial Facebook group, and this rule is not meant to deter others from participating in other Cornell Lab activities or Facebook pages.
- STAY POSITIVE! Aggressive content will be immediately removed from the group. This means name-calling, offensive language, threats, and hate speech will not be tolerated in posts or comments. You will be removed from the group if you partake in these activities. Come on guys, we’re all friends here!
- BE KIND AND COURTEOUS. We’re all in this together to create a welcoming environment. Let’s treat everyone with respect. Healthy debates are natural, but kindness is required.
- NO PROMOTIONS OR SPAM. This community is not a place for excessive self-promotion, advertising, or “trolling”. While you’re welcome to share the projects you are working on, please refrain from posting if it is business related and involves buying/selling. Spam and irrelevant links aren’t allowed.
- RESPECT EVERYONE’S PRIVACY. Being part of this group requires mutual trust. Authentic, expressive discussions make groups great, but may also be sensitive and private. What’s shared in the group should stay in the group.
WHY ARE THERE AGE RESTRICTIONS?
Naturally, it excites us to see people of all ages are interested in learning more about feeding their backyard birds. However, as we have outlined above, our younger adult audiences have told us they would like to interact with more people their own age. There are very few bird-feeding groups online made up of younger bird-lovers, and the young adults we spoke to told us they feel the majority of online groups are not really “for them”.
The Feeder Flock is restricted to 18-35 year-olds in North America to allow us to work out how we can better serve younger adults and their passions for bird feeding, especially since this age group are often missing or low in numbers in many of our bird-related activities. We want to ensure they continue a life-long passion for wild birds! Conducting research with this group will enable us to improve the way we encourage and support younger audiences. At this stage, the group is merely a trial, and the age restriction is not meant to deter anyone from participating in other Cornell Lab of Ornithology activities.
If you, or someone you know, falls outside the age group for The Feeder Flock, we have many other Facebook pages and groups where similar information about birds is shared.
OTHER FACEBOOK PAGES TO FOLLOW
You can also access lots of excellent bird feeding tips and information on how to get involved in citizen science at our Project FeederWatch website.
The Principal Investigator (PI) for this project is Victoria (Vicki) Martin, Rose Postdoctoral Research Associate, at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. In addition, we have a team of students at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology who are helping to create content and manage the page. Details of the current team members can be found within The Feeder Flock page on Facebook. We are very grateful for the assistance to date provided by Rachael Maddy, Emma Regnier, Iriel Edwards, Facundo Fernandez-Duque, Brian Petersen, Ben Walters, Taylor Brown, Michelle D’Apice, Sean Gahagan, Joanne Avila, Lindsay Glasner, Jay McGowan and Germán Reyes.
SUPPORT FOR THE PROJECT
Financial support for this project has been provided by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
Unless stated otherwise, all illustrations for The Feeder Flock have been created by Emma Regnier.