2010 Focus on Feeders Results & Highlights

We would like to thank the more than 1,000 backyard bird feeding enthusiasts from across Massachusetts who took part in this fun and educational annual event. Numbers of participants continue to climb and as numbers climb the data become more valuable. Focus on Feeders helps to raise conservation awareness, and further Mass Audubon's efforts to protect wildlife and habitat in Massachusetts.

A few highlights from the 2010 event:

  • More than 50 species were reported. See distribution maps of the species observed in the greatest numbers: 

    Species

    Number Reported

    Dark-eyed Juncos 8,210
    American Goldfinch 5,553
    Mourning Dove 4,348
    House Sparrow 3,982
    Black-capped Chickadees 3,423
  • Map of number of species by town.
  • The biggest change in 2010 was in the numbers of Pine Siskins observed. Winter 2009 was the year of the Siskin as numbers averaged 5.4 per observer. This year, Siskin numbers were down to their typical level of 0.1 birds per observer. In 2010, 93 Siskins were recorded down from more than 5,200 in 2009!
  • Many of you reported reduced activity at your feeders this year, but the total number of birds per observer was down only slightly (approximately 2 birds per observer). The overall decline was masked somewhat by a substantial increase in Junco reports as this species reclaimed its number 1 position in our counts with an increase of 38% over 2009. Goldfinch numbers were down slightly in 2010 when compared to 2009. Black-capped Chickadee sightings continued to decrease and are down 48% from their 2004 peak. 
  • As always care should be taken before drawing conclusions from what may be short-term and minor fluctuations in numbers.
  • Some interesting patterns are beginning to emerge, and we will continue to provide more detailed analysis of these results in upcoming posts to our web site. Starlings appear to be experiencing a long-term decline in feeder numbers. We will be filtering our database for those participants who have been reporting since 2004 and focus our analysis on changes in those feeder reports.
  • Winter finches (grosbeaks and redpolls) and Bohemian Waxwings were rarely reported this winter; redpolls were only reported at eight feeders in 2010 perhaps not the lowest ever recorded but certainly close to an all-time low.
  • We had an unusual winter with relatively little snow in New England, while the rest of the East Coast received record snowfalls. Then it got very wet in late winter with widespread flooding in February and March.
  • Thanks to your participation, our winter feeder database continues to grow. The current Focus on Feeders program dates from 1997, and the updated rank order of birds visiting feeders since 1997 can be found in the Rank Order table. 
    Rank Order Table 47.67 kB

We set a record for participation in 2010, and we had 259 towns out of 351 Massachusetts towns and cities reporting. We would like to continue to grow the numbers of reports and get a record from every town in Massachusetts. Encourage your friends and neighbors to participate and help continue to grow participation in 2011.