Reflections from a guest blogger...

Hi everyone,

I've asked a young Cornell Lab friend to share her insights as she participates in the Lab's citizen science projects, in particular, Project FeederWatch.  Alexandria is a young teen who lives in Texas, and I'm anxious to find out what she uncovers this winter! How do the species that she sees compare to what you might see in your area this winter? 

By the way, just as Alexandria writes about seeing Cardinals in the snow, as the first Ithaca snow begins piling up outside my window, I'm reminded of an online article I write last year, "How do Birds Stay Warm?"  You might find it informative, along with the whole "Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears" online magazine for which I wrote it!

Happy birdwatching,
Jennifer Fee
Education Program
Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Alexandria's Post

I am excited about my first year participation in Project FeederWatch. Although I have never kept an official count of the birds that visit, various types of feeders are stationed around my family’s acreage all year round. “Winter” birds arrived about six weeks ago, and I was delighted to see them again. These cold-weather guests consist of sparrows: White-crowned, Harris’s, and Vesper; Lark Buntings, Northern Cardinals, Carolina Chickadees and Tufted Titmice.

Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) by Larry Meade
Courtesy Larry Meade, BirdShare
 My favorite birds who come to the feeder area are the Northern Cardinals, especially the bright crimson males. I enjoy watching them cock their heads at the seeds inquiringly; the way they hop around like sparrows amuses me. Last January, we received a couple inches of snow, a rare occurrence for central Texas. The eye-catching cardinals looked especially beautiful on the white snow. Because they sought shelter under our eighteen-foot trailer to escape the snow, we placed wild bird food under the trailer for them. They seemed to be very appreciative, and hung around for long periods of time, giving us time to observe them well.

Right now, the sparrows find the feeder area quite satisfying. Hopefully, other birds will join them soon. I am waiting for the year-round birds like dove and quail to discover this feeding ground.
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