Cornell Lab eNews: New Live Cams and Website Kick Off FeederWatch Season

Cornell Lab eNews

November 2013

Watch our two FeederWatch cams - live on

A heaping helping of Evening Grosbeaks from the FeederWatch Cam in Ontario.

Two New Bird Cams to Get You Ready for FeederWatch

Project FeederWatch starts its new season this Saturday, November 9. To get ready, check out our two new live-streaming Bird Cams—set up at feeders in Manitouwadge, Ontario, and right here outside our Visitor Center. Check out the great winter birds already on display in Canada, including Evening Grosbeaks, Purple Finches, and Gray Jays. You’ll also see goldfinches, woodpeckers, and the last of the fall colors outside our offices here in Ithaca, New York. Watch the cams.

Project FeederWatch common birds toolGreat New FeederWatch Website: Our team just relaunched the Project FeederWatch website with some great new features: a nifty Common Feeder Birds tool to help you find out which birds to expect and what foods they like; revamped Tricky Bird ID pages; a better way to send us photos; and cool ways to look at your data.

Project FeederWatch is a fun and easy citizen-science project. Participants watch their feeders roughly two days per week and report their counts online. See the sidebar for more details on how to join.

BirdSpotter contest returns this FeederWatch season

BirdSpotter Photo Contest Returns

We’re happy to be running our weekly BirdSpotter photo contest again this year during Project FeederWatch season, thanks to returning sponsor Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods. You can submit photos on a different theme each week and vote for your favorites. Weekly winners get prizes from Bob’s Red Mill, and a grand prize winner gets a trip to Bob’s headquarters in Oregon to go birding with Bob himself. Get out your cameras!

Do you know the name of this species?

Do you know the name of this colorful bird of the West? Photo by Darin Zeigler via Birdshare.

Which Species Is This?

Slate gray, cinnamon, pearl white, olive, and gold: is this bird sending mixed messages or what? It’s almost as colorful as a warbler, almost as chunky as a finch, and nowhere near as streaky as your typical sparrow. The overabundance of field marks might make some birders green with envy, but we bet you’ll find the tell-tail clues to make this ID. Check your guess and learn more.

Here’s a Hint… and a Chance to Vote: This bird is a mainstay of the vast sagebrush ecosystems of the West—a region dearly in need of conservation. We’re celebrating sagebrush this month, and we want you to vote for your favorite sagebrush species—on Facebook or in this poll (for non-Facebook users). The winner will star on this year’s Thanksgiving eCard. Vote here!

Red-backed Fairywren by Tom Tarrant

A male Red-backed Fairywren of the eastern “orange-backed” form. Photo by Tom Tarrant.

Wandering Eyes Keep an Australian Species Together

About 270,000 years ago, climate shifts split Australia’s Red-backed Fairywren into two separate populations. That’s a classic evolutionary recipe for new species to develop—but in this case the two fairywren types eventually reunited and now seem to be re-forming into a single species. Using a simple experiment, a Cornell Lab graduate student found the key to the reunion lies in who these birds choose to mate with outside of their pair bond. Read the full story.

Animated explanation of speciation in the birds-of-paradise

Our newest Birds-of-Paradise Project video explores how new species form.

Our Birds-of-Paradise Videos Have Been Watched for 30+ Years. Here’s 8 More Minutes

Last year we launched our Birds-of-Paradise Project website, full of fascinating natural history videos and educational activities. Since then, our videos have been watched nearly 7 million times for a collective 31 years of viewing time. We’ve just uploaded 29 more videos, including this one that tackles the question of how one species can become many over thousands of generations. Watch it.

More to Marvel At: This gorgeous introductory video alone has been watched more than 3.5 million times.

Watch Our “Parade of Students”: Each young researcher gets one minute to explain his/her project to our directors. Bookmark this page and tune in on Friday, November 8, at 4:00 p.m. Eastern time.
Discover Rich Media on eBird: With photos, audio, and video now regular additions to eBird checklists, we made a new tool to help you find and enjoy them.
Drink Great Coffee This Holiday Season: Save $45 on a 12-item sampler of Birds & Beans coffee—the only roaster to offer exclusively Bird Friendly coffee. Great for gifts!
Apply for a Mini-Grant: Our Celebrate Urban Birds project offers grants for creative neighborhood projects. Apply by December 31.
Improve Your Waterfowl ID:
We’re running our popular set of one-hour Waterfowl ID webinars through November. Check here for schedules and prices.
Take a Road Trip: Our Upcoming Bird Festivals webpage makes it easy to plan your next birding destination. You can look through listings by calendar or on a map, so you can start planning your road trip right from the page.

Become a FeederWatcher!

Join up for the 27th season of Project FeederWatch
This winter, why not join the more than 50,000 people who have participated in Project FeederWatch? Our 27th season begins November 9. The information you and others report online provides a crucial resource to help us track changes to bird populations across North America. We need your help!
We welcome people of all interests and skill levels. A $15 fee ($12 for Lab members) covers staff time and project kits. Returning this year will be the BirdSpotter photo contest, sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods. Join today and receive your kit before the new season begins!

Join the Cornell Lab and Receive Living Bird Magazine

Receive our award-winning quarterly member magazine, Living Bird, when you join.
The winter issue of our award-winning magazine is on its way to mailboxes—you can subscribe now by joining the Cornell Lab at a reduced rate. This issue features our first comprehensive binocular review in 8 years—more than 100 models—along with a remembrance of the great field ornithologist Ted Parker, plus more great stories and photos.
Members receive this elegant magazine four times a year. If you aren’t a member, don’t miss out! You’ll receive Living Bird, discounts on courses and merchandise, and more when you join today and save $5.
Find Us on Facebook: If you’re on Facebook but don’t follow us yet—please join our community of 162,000 fans for a daily dose of bird quizzes, gorgeous videos, fascinating articles, and tons of photos.
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Attention Educators: Check Out These Resources

New citizen science book edited by Cornell Lab educators
Free bird watching kits: Are you a teacher or do you know one whose classroom could use a free bird curriculum kit? It comes complete with feeder, seed, kids’ binoculars, and activities. With help from Pennington Wild Bird Feed and Walmart, we’re giving away 2,500 of these kits. Teachers, sign up here.

Attention Homeschoolers: You can use Project FeederWatch to do bird counts and teach science concepts. Our Investigator’s Kit for Homeschoolers offers everything you need and is now 30 percent off.

Webinars for Teachers: Our Soar Through the Standards webinar series is a fun way for teachers to learn how to bring NGSS standards alive for K-12 students. Each one-hour webinar incorporates live instruction, multimedia, and Q&A time. The next webinars will be November 11. Learn more here.

The Ordinary Extraordinary Junco is a series of free, short videos and teacher resources produced by scientists at Indiana University. They’ve studied the birds for decades, and their excellent videos cover myriad science-standards-related topics.


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