This weekend is shaping up to be a fine one to sit by a window and look outside rather than venturing into the biting cold.
Mass Audubon is asking for the public's help on Feb. 2 and 3 to complete the organization's annual midwinter bird count in backyards and at bird feeders.
The process is simple: Pour your favorite hot beverage and curl up by a window with a view of your birdfeeder. As birds venture into your yard, note the individual species and greatest number of a single species spotted at the same time.
Then it's time to report your findings. The numbers can be submitted via this PDF that observers than mail in or via an online form that will be available on Feb. 2. Each species need only be reported once using the greatest number spotted at any one time during your watching.
The deadline to submit a report is Thursday, Feb. 28, and participants will be entered into a drawing for prizes.
According to the Mass Audubon website, "Observations from the bird watching public contribute to a growing body of information that can help provide early warning signs of changes in the abundance of bird species that visit feeders."
During last year's Focus on Feeders weekend, 850 observers in 292 communities reported nearly 100 species, according to a press release.
“Watching birds at feeders is a fun and educational way to connect with nature, while contributing useful information about the winter status of common birds in Massachusetts,” said Wayne Petersen, director of Mass Audubon’s Important Bird Areas program. “We invite one and all to join with hundreds of other bird lovers in this enjoyable weekend survey.”
For individuals who want to participate, but need some help identifying species, Mass Audubon has created a number of resources:
And, of course, if you're watching the birds you may also be photographing them. We'd love to see your best nature photography, so please upload your birdwatching photos to the Pics & Clips Gallery.