JUNEAU - Bird enthusiasts throughout North America are being asked to count the numbers and kinds of birds that visit their feeders from November through early April.
Data is sent to researchers at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Project FeederWatch helps determine population distribution and abundance of some 100 bird species that regularly visit feeders.
The project helps spot and document trends, including population drops and changes in migration.
"To get a complete picture of what's happening with feeder birds across the continent, we need as many people as possible to become the 'eyes and ears' of our scientists," said Laura Kammermeier, project leader.
Participants receive a research kit that includes a full-color feeder bird poster and calendar, and the FeederWatcher's Handbook. They also receive summaries of FeederWatch data and other findings published in the Lab's quarterly newsletter, Birdscope. A $15 fee helps cover the cost of materials and data analysis.
Bob Winckler, FeederWatch volunteer ambassador for Alaska, said fewer than 100 Alaskans take part in the project and fewer than 10 are from Juneau.
"We would like to see more participation from Alaska, both to increase the data that is currently provided about winter bird populations here and, to improve Alaska's representation in the project," he said.
For more information or to sign up, call the Cornell Lab of Ornithology at (800) 843-2473 or visit the lab's Web site http://birds.cornell.edu/pfw. Winckler can be reached at (907)376-8594.