February is National Bird Feeding Month
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February is National Bird-Feeding Month, a month dedicated to bird feeding and watching. This national observation month gives us an opportunity to support community- and place-based learning about native species and our local environment. In February, families are encouraged to learn together about winter bird-feeding, how to identify visitors to their feeders, and the importance of habitat conservation.
In addition to feeding birds, families can channel their avian curiosity as citizen science. The annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), which utilizes citizen scientists’ skills to gather data for Audubon and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, takes place in February. The GBBC has taken place annually since 1998, engaging thousands of people worldwide to gather information about species populations and habitat. Families can participate by committing to count birds for at least 15 minutes on at least one of the days of the event. Participants must keep track not only of what bird species they’ve seen but also when and where they’ve spotted them. After counting, families can submit their data electronically to be part of a global database for web-based learning about bird populations and habitat.
Amateur birders can use field guides to identify the species that they spot nearby. Mass Audubon’s Fall and Winter Birds page offers photos and descriptions of the bird species found in the state during these two seasons to get you started. Their Tips for Identifying Winter Bird Species suggest ways to differentiate between similar-looking species, helping bird watchers identify the feathered friends they spot more accurately.