do I contact for help
with data entry?
read the FAQ's on this page before requesting
you don't find an answer here, follow the "Request Technical Support" link on the right side of the Data Entry home page to fill out an online request-for-help form. If you cannot enter Data Entry, send email
(in the U.S.) or firstname.lastname@example.org
(in Canada) for assistance.
you request help, we need your full
name, ID number, web browser and version, operating system, and a complete description of the problem you are having, including
what you were doing and seeing on the computer screen
when the problem occurred. Using the online technical support request form automatically provides us with most of this information.
note that we have limited staff available to provide
technical assistance. Therefore, during peak times,
we may need a week or more to respond to your message.
e-mail and/or home address has changed.
How do I update my address in your records?
our databases are independent (to protect your privacy),
you need to update your address in three different
your online profile by clicking on the "Edit Your
Profile" link on the Data Entry home page.
the membership department so that your
newsletter will be sent to the correct address.
In the U.S. send e-mail to: email@example.com.
In Canada send email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
you are subscribed to
PFWNews-L (FeederWatch's electronic newsletter), you will need to subscribe your new address by clicking the "Electronic Newsletter" link on the left side of our home page. (The system will automatically purge your old address when it no longer works.)
onto Data Entry
do I log into
review the instructions
for logging into Data Entry. Access to Data Entry
is restricted to registered FeederWatch participants.
Click here to sign up (or
click on the Join/Renew button on our home page).
After I log in, I loop back to a blank login page. Why can't I log in?
you are caught in a loop and can't get past the login page, then your firewall or your web browser is preventing you from entering Data Entry. This problem sometimes occurs if software on your computer is blocking traffic to or from our site or preventing us from putting a cookie on your machine. See the browser and computer configuration section below for assistance and read our browser configuration instructions to be sure that the security settings on your browser are compatible with our website.
does "remember my
you leave this option selected, you will bypass the
login page when you enter Data Entry on subsequent
visits during the current season. This is true, however,
only if you do not log out between sessions (see
the next FAQ about logging out). If
you choose to log out after a session, you will be
prompted for your password the next time you enter
the site, even if you clicked on "remember my
password" before exiting your browser.
I have to log out between
do not have to log out when you finish submitting FeederWatch data, but doing so
will prevent anyone else who might use the same computer
from accessing the server in your name. We highly
recommend that you log out if you are using a public
computer, such as one in a library. You
can log out of the server by clicking the "Log
Out" link on the Data Entry home page and at
the top of other pages inside of Data Entry. If you
unchecked "Remember my password" when you
logged in, you will automatically be logged out if
you exit your browser.
note that if you choose to log out after a session,
this will automatically clear the "Remember my
password" box, and you will be prompted for your
password on your next visit to the site.
is my ID number attached to a different profile?
some point this season, you entered your ID number
on the Project Sign-In page, attaching that number
to a login name and password. More recently when returning
to Data Entry, rather than use the login name and
password that you attached to your ID number, you
either used a different login name and password that
you had created in the past or you created a new profile
with a new login name and password.
you are stuck on the ID number screen and you have
already successfully entered data this season, click
on the "Log Out" link at the top of the Project Sign-In
page (where you are being asked to enter an ID number).
This will return you to the Project FeederWatch home
page. Click on the Data Entry button again. Then on
the login page, type in your original login name and
password (without clicking on the "Create your
online profile now" link).
browsers/ computer configurations
web browsers are compatible
with your website?
FeederWatch website was programmed to work with the
most widely available web browsers (listed below).
We recommend that you download a newer browser whenever
• IE 5.5+ (download)
• Firefox 0.8+ (download)
• Safari 1.2.4+ (Macs only, download)
• Netscape 7.1+ (download)
• Mozilla 1.4+ (download)
• Opera 7+ (download)
Review our browser configuration instructions to be sure your browsers settings are compatible with our website. Each
web browser functions slightly differently on different
computers, so you may encounter problems that are
unique to your computer configuration. Please contact
us if you encounter browser problems.
do I determine which
web browser I am using?
find which web browser you use, go to the main menu
bar of your web browser and select the HELP menu option.
Then scroll down to "About." On a Mac, the
"About" link is under the Internet Explorer
or Netscape pull down or under the apple. This link
calls up a window that describes your browser, including
the browser name (e.g., Netscape or Microsoft Internet
Explorer) and its version number (e.g., Netscape 4.7).
When writing for assistance, please give our staff
the exact version number that appears
in the "About" window, for example, Netscape
4.01 or 4.7. It is not sufficient to say 'Netscape
does your website use "cookies?"
cookie is a tiny file placed on your computer by our
website to allow you to move between web pages inside
of Data Entry without having to login each time. We
place ONE cookie on your computer that holds your
FeederWatch ID number, which is how we protect your
data submissions and identify you as a registered participant. When
you enter Data Entry or change pages within Data Entry,
our application looks at the cookie on your machine
to authenticate the session.
do I use Data Entry with a firewall?
the FeederWatch Data Entry system needs to place a
cookie on your machine (see question above), security
software, such as a firewall, on your computer
or through your internet provider, can prevent online
Data Entry from working properly. To determine if
a firewall or other software is causing a problem
for you, try disabling the software and entering Data
Entry again. If you conclude that the software was
blocking your access, you can resolve the problem
by programming the security software to accept a
transfer of information to and from the FeederWatch
website by designating the following addresses as
do I use the mapping tool
to mark my count site?
plot your site on the map using the mapping tool,
type in your street address, city or town,
state or province, and zip or postal code. A map will
come up showing your location.
the location is correct, press "Select this location" to
name your site.
the location mark is in the wrong place, use the mapping
tools to move the mark to the correct location:
on the map in the correct location, and the marker
will move to where you click.
your mouse or the directional arrows to pan left,
right, up and down to see areas that are hidden
the slider to zoom in and zoom out (selecting bars
closer to the "-" will zoom the map out,
closer to the "+" will zoom the map in).
"Satellite" at the top right corner of
the map to see aerial images of your location. You
can also choose the hybrid view, which superimposes
map data–including streets, street names,
and landmarks–over satellite images.
you can start with the map and navigate to your location
by entering a town or zip/postal code on the right
hand side of the Create Your Count Site screen. This
option is especially useful if your site is located
in a remote area.
your browser does not work with Google maps, the mapping
software we use, then you must use the address option.
You will see an error message indicating that your
browser is incompatible with Google maps, and then
your site will automatically be plotted at your street
address. You will be asked to confirm the address
and to name your site.
is the count
site I used last season ?
If you submitted
data to Project FeederWatch in past seasons, either online or on paper forms, then
there should be at least one count site listed on
the Your Count Site page. Project FeederWatch data
are most valuable if you use the same site over multiple
seasons. If you are counting from the same location
as last season but can't find your count site on the
list, please contact us.
is there more than one count site listed? Why
is there a count site for my zip/postal code?
who entered data on paper forms in past years will see a
count site labeled with the zip/postal code of that
site. Participants who plotted their site on a map
will see the name of the site they plotted. If they
plotted different sites, all of them will show up.
In many cases all of the sites are really the same
location, but at this time we have no way to combine the sites. In order to keep your data connected over
time, please use the site created most recently if
you are counting from the same location. The Your
Count Site page displays the year that any site was
most recently used.
can I rename, move,
merge, or delete count sites?
To rename or move a count site, go to"Your Count Site" on the Data Entry home page and select "edit/rename location" next to the site you wish to edit.
To change the name of your site, choose "I want to rename this count site," then enter the new count site name, and press "submit" to confirm your changes.
To update the geographical position of your count site location in our database, choose "I want to improve the accuracy of this site location." Use "+" or "-" on the left hand side of the map to zoom in or out, then drag the marker to your count site location. If you would prefer, enter specific geographical coordinates to map your site. When you have accurately positioned your site on the map, press "submit" to confirm the new location. You will be prompted to confirm that all historic data for this site will be moved to the new coordinates. Click "ok" to receive confirmation that you have successfully moved your count site.
this time there is no way to merge or
delete a count site. We may be able to offer these
tools in the future, but not at this time. For now,
please continue to use the site that you have used
does it say "Incomplete"
next to my count site?
"Incomplete" on the Your Count Site page indicates
that your count site description form still needs
to be completed. Be sure to provide an answer to every question, including
changing blanks to zeros and indicating yes or no, even if a question may not be applicable to your site.
If you think you have answered all of the questions, and your form is still showing "incomplete," please contact us. Rest
assured that even if the form is incomplete, all
of your data are still in the database.
Returning participants will notice that data from
previous seasons are no longer carried forward on the
count site description form. Scientists were concerned
that data from the form may change from one year to
the next and wanted to be sure that participants check
each item each year. Consequently, the form now needs
to be filled out completely each season.
if I don't know the elevation of my
count site? You can find the elevation of your count site by referring to a topographic map found at a library or university map room, or you can find your elevation on a number of online websites. For example, try www.gpsies.com. Enter your address in the field and click search.
may leave this question blank. Please note, however,
that the Your Count Site page
and the View and Manage Your Counts page will indicate
that your count site description form is incomplete.
You may safely ignore this message and be assured
that we received the rest of your data.
are my two-consecutive Count Days?
the FeederWatching instructions for a full explanation
about how to select your Count
Days. In short, if you enter data online, you
may count your birds every week. Just make sure that
you leave five days when you don't count birds between
your two-day counts (you may decide to count every
Saturday and Sunday, for example).
your FeederWatch Count Days in advance and try your
best to stick with them. Dont change your Count
Days just because you see remarkable numbers or kinds
of birds. Doing so would bias your data.
How can I edit my counts?
If you discover that you have entered a count or weather or effort data incorrectly, you can edit the data by going to the View and Manage Your Counts page and clicking on the "edit" link next to the count you want to change. You can only edit counts from the current season. At the present time we have no way to edit data from past seasons; however, we are keeping track of errors found and will make the changes once an editing tool has been developed. If you notice an error in any of your data from past seasons, please let us know.
can I change a Count Day after I
have already entered it?
you mistakenly choose the wrong date when you
enter your data, the only way to correct the date
is to delete the count for the wrong date and re-enter
it under the correct date. To do this, click on the
"View and manage your counts" link from the Data
Entry home page. If you do not have a paper copy of
the data for the incorrect count date, then follow
the "view" link next to the incorrect count
and print the summary. Next return to the View and
manage your counts page and follow the "delete"
link next to the count date you need to delete. Once
the count is deleted, you can re-enter it under the
if I forget to record the weather conditions for a particular date?
If you forget to record the weather conditions for a particular date or need to determine the high and low temperatures for the daylight hours, you can find historical weather information here: http://www.wunderground.com/
- Enter your city and state or zip code at the top of the page to find your location.
- In the "Current Conditions" section, click on the link that says, "Weather History for This Location" to find the high and low temperatures for a specific date.
- Scroll down to the bottom of the page to find "Tabular Data," which provides specific weather statistics broken down into five minute increments for that date.
were the species on my regional bird
bird species on your regional checklist are the most
widely reported feeder birds in your FeederWatch region,
according to a decade of FeederWatch results.
In the interest of keeping the lists a manageable
size for most FeederWatchers, we do not include every
bird that may occur in your region in winter. You
can add a species to your checklist
by following the link at the bottom of your checklist.
Each time you report counts for a species that you added
to your list, you will receive a message indicating
an unusually high count for this species. See the
high counts FAQ below to
is "taxonomic" order?
order is an arrangement of species that reflects their
evolutionary relatedness to one another. Simply put,
"like" species (such as finches) can be
found in "like" groups. Many field guides
are arranged this way. Over time, you might learn
species relatedness by leaving your checklist species
in taxonomic order.
I enter my count, why do I get a message saying that
the count is too high?
warning message about a high count is designed to
help ensure that you have entered the count you intended
to enter. The programming that generates the message
is based on counts submitted by FeederWatchers in
your region. Entering a higher than normal count or
entering a count for a species not on your region's
count list can generate the message.
There is no need to worry about the messages so long
as you are accurately entering the maximum number
of a particular species seen at one time during your count. Just be sure you are not adding any counts together.
you receive this message, be sure to scroll down to
the species on your count list and click the small
confirmation box to indicate that you entered the
number you intended to enter. Learn what happens once a species had been "flagged."
does "number with eye
disease" mean on my bird checklist?
Finches (and to a lesser extent American Goldfinches
and other species) are susceptible to House Finch
disease or "mycoplasmal conjunctivitis." See the House
Finch Disease Survey website to learn more about
the disease and how to diagnose it. If during a count
day, you see a House Finch or an American Goldfinch
that appears to have House Finch eye disease, please
report the number of sick birds you see in the box
provided on your checklist.
FeederWatch, the House Finch disease survey collects
data on a daily basis. You may report any healthy
OR sick finches that you see on NON-COUNT days by
using the House Finch Disease Survey form on the House
Finch Disease website.
do I find the species
I need to add?
search engine ignores capitalization but requires
the currently accepted spelling of the species name
and the accepted use of punctuation characters, including
hyphens, apostrophes, etc. Do
not use plural forms of names.
If you are unsure of the accepted spelling or punctuation
of a species, enter only part of the species name—the
part that you are sure is correct. For
example, to search Eurasian Collared-Dove, enter 'dove' to find a list of doves. Do not add an "s"
at the end of a species group, e.g., doves or towhees.
a species you are searching for doesn't show up in
the drop down list, it may already be on your checklist
under a name you don't expect. For example, turkey
is called Wild Turkey and robin is called American
Robin. See next FAQ for more tips on finding the species
in your checklist. If you cannot find a species on
your checklist, and it is not available to add, contact
the FeederWatch office
in your country for assistance.
Why won't the "Add a
Species" button work?
The Add a Species button will not activate until you select a species name from the drop down list. If you do not see a drop down list, try typing only part of the species name. As soon as you start typing a species name, a list should come up for you to choose from. The list gets shorter the more you type. The species must be selected from the list, even if what you type is exactly the same as the species name on the list.
tried to "Add a
Species" to my checklist but it
didn't work. I don't see the species on my checklist.
your checklist carefully.
Perhaps the species is buried within a sub-grouping
of species, or perhaps you are looking for "Cardinal"
when the species is listed alphabetically under
you are sure that the species is not in your checklist,
return to the Add a Species feature. Review
the instructions for how to find your species,
being sure to use current species names and the
accepted forms of spelling and punctuation. FeederWatch
uses species names most recently accepted by the
your screen. If you still do not see the species,
hit the Refresh button on your web browser to be
sure the browser is displaying an updated version
of the page.
Data Entry Questions
can I find and print a Tally
Tally Sheet can be found from the Data Entry home
page or the Instructions section of our website.
Tally Sheet tip: copy the Tally Sheet
text into a word processing document and then add
the species that you usually see. You may need to
edit the page or resize it in order to print it on
do I report a Rare Bird?
you see a bird that might be rare, use the Rare Bird
Form found under the "Report rare, sick, or unusual
birds" link on the Data Entry home page to report
your observation. Provide
as much detail as possible because ornithologists
will need these details to confirm your record. (They
cannot confirm records that just say It matched
the picture in the field guide or Im
sure of my identification.) You may submit a
Rare Bird Form even if you see a bird outside of your
Count Days, as long as the bird was in your count
site. Learn more about reporting Rare Birds.
is the Sick Bird Form?
the Sick Bird Form to report observations of
birds that appear to be sick. Learn
more about bird diseases and reporting sick birds.
NOT use this form to report birds with House Finch
disease. Use the House Finch Disease
Survey form instead.
is the Unusual Bird Form?
the Unusual Bird Form to report your observations
of birds unusual plumages or bill deformities. Learn
more about reporting unusual birds.
is the House Finch Disease
Scientists are conducting formal studies of House
Finch disease, or mycoplasmal conjunctivitis, in House
Finches and other species. Visit the House
Finch Disease Survey website to report your daily
observations of healthy OR sick House Finches,
American Goldfinches, or other birds who are susceptible
to the House Finch eye disease.
is an "Active"
active FeederWatcher is one who submits bird counts
to FeederWatch using either paper forms or online
over 15,000 people participate in FeederWatch, roughly
65% actually send us their bird counts. Our maps reflect
the distribution and abundance of the birds reported
by active FeederWatchers. Imagine what the maps could
tell us if 100% of people sent us their data!
can't I find my site on the map
of FeederWatch sites?
appear on the site map only after data has been submitted
for that particular site to the FeederWatch database.
If your site is plotted on the map based on your zip
code (as it would be for participants who submitted
data on paper forms in the past and who are using
the same site for their online data submissions),
then your site will appear approximately in the center
of the area covered by your zip/postal code.
you used latitude and longitude to plot your site
in a past season, it may have been plotted in the
wrong location if you used degrees, minutes, and seconds
(the FeederWatch site uses decimal degrees) or if
you forgot to put a negative sign in front of the
are my historical data?
data you have submitted to Project FeederWatch, either
through our website or on paper data forms, should
be available to you for review from the Personal Summary
page inside of Explore Data. However, there are several
possible reasons why one or more past seasons are
missing from your historical data.
of your data were submitted on paper data forms
and something happened to the forms making them
unscannable. Less than 1% of data cannot be scanned
because of data forms being destroyed in the mail.
ID number was entered or coded incorrectly on a
paper data form. If this happened, your data are
in our database, but under the wrong ID number.
ID number was changed. If you are entering data
with a different ID number than you have used in
the past, please contact
us so that the numbers can be merged. You should
only ever have one ID number from the Lab of Ornithology
or from Bird Studies Canada.
data forms sent in after June 1 are not scanned
until after the following season. Consequently,
data from these forms are not available online until