In less than a month, I will be starting my 3rd season as a participant in Project Feederwatch, a citizen science project put on by Cornell University's Lab of Ornithology. I'm really looking forward to logging my bird information this year. I already know that we'll have Red-breasted Nuthatches this year (we had none last year, and 2 at the most the year before). The Dark-eyed Junco used to be my favorite winter bird, but I think that the RB Nuthatch has officially taken that honor now.
Interestingly, participating in Project Feederwatch is what finally spurred me to buy my Nikon D50 digital SLR camera and to get into photography as a serious hobby (I wanted to take pictures of all of my beautiful birds!). It seemed only natural that these 2 interests should complement each other so well. Luckily, the people at Cornell University want to see the pictures that people like me take of their birds. Sometimes they will even use them on their website or in their various publications. Several weeks ago I learned that one of the photos that I submitted from last winter is being used in the official 2007-2008 Project Feederwatch calendar! Not only did they choose to put one of my photos in their calendar, but the photo is the front page photo. Holy cow! I was truly stunned to see my Cardinal photo right there, staring me in the face, on the front of their calendar. Thank you, Cornell University birding folks, for allowing me the chance to share my love of birds with all the other Feederwatchers!
For any of you reading who have never heard of Project Feederwatch, you should check it out. The count season starts on November 10th and runs through April 4th. It's great fun, and it's a great way to get to know the birds in your area.