For millions of people, watching birds in their own backyards is a joy unto itself. But every winter, more than 20,000 enthusiasts make their hobby mean so much more just by reporting the birds they see at their feeders.
This is part of The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Project FeederWatch—a winter-long survey of birds that visit feeders at backyards, nature centers, community areas and other locales in North America. FeederWatch participants periodically count the birds they see at their feeders from November through early April. This data is then used to help scientists track broad-scale movements of winter bird populations and long-term trends in bird distribution and abundance.
Now, as the Cornell Lab of Ornithology celebrates 30 years of this important citizen-science project, Wild Birds Unlimited has announced that they’re a proud sponsor of the ongoing initiative.
“This project is truly invaluable. It creates this immense database that really shows us ongoing trends and changes in the bird populations throughout the country. It’s led to notations, scientific papers and the publication of books,” said John Schaust, Chief Naturalist at Wild Birds Unlimited. “This detailed data has shown us that Northern Cardinals, for example, are expanding their ranges in the East. By combining all of this information, scientists now can begin to understand why a species is declining and make recommendations for its recovery before it’s too late. This kind of information means a lot to Wild Birds Unlimited, our customers, conservationists and the greater bird watching community.”
According to Schaust, this data also helps Wild Birds Unlimited run their stores more efficiently. Using the information compiled by Project FeederWatch, they can better determine what kind of birds are in different regions and how many. This helps Wild Birds Unlimited refine its product offerings, ensuring that their seed is specifically targeted to the birds in each respective area.
As a sponsor of Project FeederWatch, Wild Birds Unlimited is also participating in the BirdSpotter Photo Contest. Participants in Project FeederWatch are encouraged to snap a photo of their backyard birds. Then, every other week, two winners will be chosen: one photo that received the most votes and one “Judges Choice.” Winners will receive prizes from Wild Birds Unlimited, which include the brand’s EcoClean Tube Feeders, EcoTough Classic Hopper Feeder, the Eliminator Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder, the patented Advanced Pole System, and more.
Schaust believes that sponsoring the project helps Wild Birds Unlimited better connect with like-minded bird watchers who may not yet be familiar with the brand.
“This puts us into direct contact with people interested in the bird feeding hobby. You just don’t find a better collection of people that you want to reach than through a project like this. These are people who are passionate about backyard bird feeding, and if they aren’t one of our customers, we think they should be. This is a great way to reach out to those folks and let them know who we are,” Schaust said. “We truly strive to be the absolute leaders and the best in the industry. We’re always excited to meet people who share our passion. We’re proud to share the same beliefs as the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the 52.8 million people out there who enjoy birds just as much as we do.”