by Lee Farnham.
Development of land is the bane of habitat for many species. As open space is lost to housing, industry, roads and “progress,” animals, birds, reptiles, plants, insects, trees and flowers all lose their habitat, unless it’s preserved. That development leads to an increase in emissions which contributes to global warming, posing further threats.
In the past 50 years, according to many studies, the population of Neo-Tropical bird species in the U.S. has plummeted, by up to 75% is some cases. New Jersey, one of the smaller states in size (but high in population density) has more than 500 species of birds, partly because it is on a number of important bird migration flyways. The area around Cape May is known around the world for its spring and fall bird migration.
Twenty-five years ago The Cornell Lab of Ornithology started Project Feeder Watch as a way to document the movement of feeder birds around the country, and to see what’s happening to them. Now, more than 15,000 participants in all states (and Canadian provinces) report what species they see weekly, and how many at any one time, from November to April.
The Ewing Environmental Commission participates in Feeder Watch because one of its aims is to preserve the natural environment in the Township. Participating in Feeder Watch helps do that on a local, state and national basis, by increasing knowledge about what birds are seen at feeders, and with what frequency. Now in its tenth year, more than 160 reports have been filed, and more than 45 different bird species have been seen in that time.
Lee Farnham, former Chair of the EC, is our Project Feeder Watch citizen scientist who has participated in the project for many years. He provides updates on the bird counts in his backyard on a weekly basis Look for his results and insights in posts to come.