Counting backyard birds doubles the pleasure of winter activity
PRATT -- Thousands of Kansans enjoy watching birds at backyard feeders, and this month, they can enjoy it even more. As snow, rain, and frigid winter temperatures entice finches, cardinals, juncos, woodpeckers, and a variety of other birds to backyard bird feeders across Kansas, birders can participate in the Kansas Winter Bird Survey and help biologists monitor songbird species.

Each January, Kansas bird watchers are asked to observe and record the number and species of birds visiting their backyard feeders. Participating Kansans are asked to observe their feeders two consecutive days during the period of Jan. 11-14, then report the results to the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP). Information gleaned from this survey helps KDWP track songbird population trends and types of feed that are most attractive to backyard birds. While primarily for KDWP use, this information is available to other state agencies and federal agencies.

During those two days, viewers record the times of day they observe, as well as the numbers of each species they see. Then they visit the KDWP website,, and either print a survey or access it online. (Click "Other Services" at the top of the home page, then "Wildlife Diversity" in the left hand column, then "Surveys" and "Kansas Winter Bird Survey.") Participants use the form to describe their feeders and record the birds they see. In spaces provided, they list the highest number of each species seen together at any one time. For example, if 10 juncos are seen at 9 a.m., 11 at noon, and seven at 4 p.m., the number recorded is 11.

KDWP wants information only about birds influenced by feeders. Participants are asked to count only during two consecutive days and record only birds seen at their feeders, under their feeders, or in the trees around their feeders. Birds that fly past a house and do not use feeding areas should not be counted.

For more information, phone 620-672-5911, ext. 192.