Russett: Welcoming the season for winter bird watching

Autumn has arrived in all its splendor of bright reds and gold, which means our spring and summer species of birds will soon be migrating to warmer areas and be replaced with our winter species. Over the years, I have signed up for the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology's Project FeederWatch, and will do so again this season. The program began in the 1970s and helps scientists track the migratory patterns and habitats of the different winter bird species throughout the continent by collecting and analyzing data.

For avid birdwatchers, expert and novice, now is the time to sign up for the 2012-2013 season, which started Nov. 10 and runs through April 5, 2013. Bird watching is not only a fun-filled activity the whole family can do, but it is educational as well. In the 2011-2012 season, the top 25 most frequently reported feeder birds in Maryland were recorded. Here are just a few bird species, which can also be found right here in our own backyard: northern cardinal, downy woodpecker, red-bellied woodpecker, northern flicker, blue jay, hairy woodpecker and house finch.

Another interesting bird watching site is the Little Patuxent Oxbow Preserve, located within the Russett community. Just drive down Oxbow Place off Russett Green West and look to the left for the sign for the preserve.

For more information about Project FeederWatch, go to If any other birdwatchers would like to share information about their experiences, please e-mail me at

Happy birding!

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