Counting backyard birds doubles the pleasure of winter activity
PRATT -- 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. 10-13, 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.

Thousands of Kansans enjoy watching birds at backyard feeders, and participating in the survey makes it even more enjoyable. As snow, rain, and frigid winter temperatures entice finches, cardinals, juncos, woodpeckers, and a variety of other birds to backyard bird feeders across Kansas, this is the best time to enjoy backyard bird watching.

During two days of survey participation, 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 (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") or fill it out online at . 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.

Participants who participated last year will be emailed this information if email addresses were available. Otherwise, printed brochures will be mailed. For more information, phone 620-672-5911.