Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Citizen Science

A month ago I made a note on my calendar as a reminder that Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Project FeederWatch would begin on November 12th. Well, a lot of good my reminder was ... I got so busy that I completely forgot to order bird seed for my feeders so am getting off to an unexpected disorderly start. I never allow my feeders to empty completely unless they need cleaning. So what in the world was I thinking to let myself run out of seed and thus disappoint my feathered visitors. Hmmmm! I sure don't know the answer to that. Especially, when it is so blasted convenient to get the seed. I don't even have to leave the house ... I just order it online. I have a really good source that provides quality seed (which is a must for me because I don't like wasting money), free shipping, really fair prices and specials. What more is there to ask for. In fact, it is less expensive than at my favorite wild bird store ... which, of course, I love going to.

Anyway, I ended up letting the birds run out of seed. Fortunately, the seed arrived within a few days. So now that the feeders have been cleaned and filled and I'm all set for Project FeederWatch. Now, if the birds will just cooperate by discovering that the feeders are full again. I don't think that will be a problem, as I saw the first couple of returnees this morning. So all should be back to normal by tomorrow or the next day. So I'll be able to make my first week's bird count report.

I'm really looking forward to the pleasure of adding some statistics from my backyard to the Project. If you haven't discovered Project FeederWatch check out my blog "News From The Cornell Lab of Ornithology under Previous Posts over there to your right. There might still be time to join in the fun. If not ... then there is always next year.

I don't have any kids of my own introduce to bird feeding, but have often thought that Project FeederWatch would be a great experience for any child. Wouldn't it be great to introduce a youngster to the natural world in this way. Who knows they might even bud into a real, honest to goodness scientist ... it's happened before! At the very least they'd grow up with understanding and respect for the natural world.

When I received all the materials Cornell sends it's "citizen scientists" there was a nice calendar of the bird watching days for the Project. The calendar has some nice pictures and comments submitted by a few of the participants last year. One couple summed up what ProjectFeeder Watch means to them -- which sums it up for me too ...

"We sat on our loveseat every morning -- coffee at hand,
binoculars at the ready, our bird/nature journal nearby for
notes. One hour of calm before the chaos of the crazy world
out yonder."

I don't know if I'll be able to spend an hour ... I won't be sitting on a loveseat ... I'll have tea instead of coffee ... but it will be a time to relax, enjoy nature and ignore the more demanding needs of the day ahead.

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