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Knowledge Entry Contest: Describe How You Turned Involved in Birds!




February 15, 2022


| Pileated Woodpecker by Marie Lehmann |

For the sixth season in a row, Project FeederWatch and our sponsor Wild Birds Unlimited are rewarding registered FeederWatchers with the chance to win prizes. After entering bird counts (data) into the FeederWatch website, participants have the opportunity to share a story, memory, or tip by clicking the “Enter to Win” button on the Count Summary page. This year, we’re randomly selecting two winners per prompt. Our third Data Entry contest prompt was:

Describe how you became interested in birds. Do you have a “spark” bird? Tell us how it all began!

Congratulations to our winners, Mark Mattingly and John Leith!

Mark shared:

While stationed in Washington D.C. in the Army, I built a bird feeder in our company’s maintenance shop in my spare time. Little did I realize then, at age 18, that I’d be feeding the birds for the next fifty years. I once had three Pileated Woodpeckers at my suet feeder at one time. They even remained long enough for me to take their picture. And things just kept getting better and better.

There are many different feeder types you can choose from when planning to feed birds. From suet cages to platform feeders, different birds have different preferences. We’ve got great resources to help you find what feeder will work best for you! Check out our Feeder Birds page to see the different feeder types you can choose from, and to learn about the type of feeder each bird prefers, click on your target bird using our Common Feeder Birds Interactive tool.

John shared how his father helped him become interested in birds:

I have been interested and passionate about nature and birds since I was quite young (maybe around 5-6 years old). I’m now 67 years old. It all started with my father taking me for almost daily walks down the Redhill Creek in Hamilton every evening after his postal route was finished. He would point out to me the Ring-necked Pheasants roosting in the trees as it was getting dark, and the animal tracks we would spot in soft soil and snow. It absolutely amazed me and I was hooked. I have been a bird watcher and nature nut ever since. Thanks, Dad! Rest in peace.

Birdwatching is a great way to foster a love of nature. Ensuring your backyard is wildlife-friendly can benefit more than just birds. For more information on easy steps you can take to help, read these Seven Simple Actions To Help Birds.

Thanks to everyone who participated and shared their stories – we wish we could share them all! We will pick two winners each month through April 2022. Check out the contest page after you submit your count on FeederWatch.org to view the next story prompt, and stay tuned for the announcement of our next winners on Tuesday, March 15, 2022! Using the app? You can access the Count Summary page, which contains the link to the contest, by signing in to our website, clicking “View or Edit Previous Counts,” clicking “Actions” and then “View” for a count that has already been submitted. Email feederwatch@cornell.edu with questions.

Interested in becoming a FeederWatcher? Join the fun now!








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