I'm sorry that some people feel that the Feederwatch program didn't meet
their needs. And for some people, that may be legitimate: they just enjoy
watching birds, and prefer to leave it at that. But there are other ways to
look at Feederwatch than to dismiss it outright. Here is my perspective.
I have done Feederwatch for the last several years, and find it a productive
thing to do. Given how few staff the project has (most of the grunt work is
done by just a few people), and how long it takes to process and analyze
statistical results (something I have done myself in my profession), it
doesn't surprise me at all that it takes several months to put together the
results. The money barely covers costs for materials and processing-- I
don't mind the small charge for the pleasure it gives me to participate, and
the chance to contribute in a small way to our scientific understanding of
how the world works.
I think one of the important contributions of Feederwatch is that it is one
of the few sources of long-range data covering a long period of time and a
large geographic area. Looked at over years and decades, scientists are
able to see trends, and develop a better understanding of not only the
population, movements and activities of birds, but of the various factors
involved that affect not just birds, but the environment we humans live in
too-- and which we impact. It ultimately can provide important information
that can guide human planning in a number of areas, from local land use to
I am, by profession, an environmental planner and scientist, now mostly
retired. Much of my time was spent working with communities in how land-use
impacts water quality, and the interaction between human activities and the
immediate environment. The kind of information that made that kind of
planning meaningful to the participants (the people who lived in the human
communities) was what linked them to the natural communities around them.
Feederwatch is one of the sources for that kind of information.
Just thought I'd share this different view.