Right in my Own Backyard by Brandt Carter - nonprofit agencies
posted: Jan. 07, 2021
Winter is a perfect time to plan. These are the days when I can design all kinds of new projects for my backyard, wish for an assortment of new plants, and envision new flowerbeds. This is also an opportune time to connect with some very worthwhile bird ventures.
I recommend several websites of nonprofit agencies to inspire, educate, and fuel your endeavors. Check out the National Wildlife Federation at www.nwf.org
, where a variety of activities for the backyard naturalist, birdfeeder, or birdwatcher are available. Thousands of property owners around the country, who encourage wildlife in their yards, have participated in the Backyard Wildlife Certification Program. You can become involved no matter whether you live in an apartment or on an estate. By providing food, water, cover, and places for birds to raise their young, you qualify to work toward certification of your backyard habitat. This action tells others that you are committed to wildlife conservation and the environment. The website provides information about the fee and process for applying to be a Certified Backyard Wildlife Habitat
Another site to check out is www.birds.cornell.edu
. Cornell Lab of Ornithology involves tens of thousands of citizen-science participants in gathering data for bird studies. The organization sponsors the Great Backyard Bird Count
, in which participants measure snow depth to determine how snow cover affects annual bird distributions. Partnering with the Audubon Society, the Cornell Lab also sponsors the Christmas Bird Count
, in which participants count birds on a specific day over a specified time period. The Cornell Lab also started Project FeederWatch
, in which participants submit data (now a database) on population trends, diseases, and movement tracking of feeder birds.
Finally, look into Project Wildbird
, which is conducted by the Wild Bird Feeding Industry Research Foundation and supported by the Wild Bird Centers of America. This is a pioneering scientific study of the food and feeder preferences of North American feeder birds. The study will be completed in 2008.
If you thought birdfeeding was just a simple hobby, welcome to a larger vision. Your backyard can be a planned ecosystem, a wildlife habitat, and a citizen-science center!