Best fields for birds visiting feeders (and universal curation more generally?)

I want to curate a bunch of observations of whether they are a bird visiting a bird feeder or not. Any suggestions for the best field to use? It doesn’t look like any fields are used freqeuntly.

That said, are there any lists of fields that are used more universally than others? Like a best practices for including ancillary data before adding yet another field.


Just saw a towhee at an area where ground seed had been scattered, and remembered seeing this post. Realized that would count as “feeding the birds” without the presence of an actual feeder, if that makes a difference for the way you handle your classifications.

Also, seems like a good idea to get this information. :-)

I did a quick search of observation field types and didn’t find much, though there were some very basic fields related to birdfeeders. You might consider making your own and then either setting up a project to use/demonstrate them or getting people at one of the birdfeeder focused projects to use them.
I can think of two types of feeder related fields that might be useful: Feeder proximity (at/on feeder, near feeding area, not near feeding area) and Feeder/food type (seed, suet, fruit, nectar, etc.).

There is a field called “visit to bird feeder” and the dropdown has options for the type of feed like suet, nut/seed, etc. but also includes an option for “feed on ground” as well as options for “bird house” and “bird bath”.


Thanks! I found ‘Feeder?’, ‘Visit to Bird Feeder’ and ‘Feeder watch’ but none of these field look like they are used much.

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Thanks I hadn’t heard of the “feeder?” one before. I find it frustrating that there are so many similar observation fields that cover similar topics, it would be nice if similar fields were condensed together. That would be better for trying to search for things within that category too.


me too! I usually try to find the field that is used most often by the community. But in this case, none of these are popular.

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How are you able to tell how often one of the fields has been used? I also would like to try to stick with the more used ones but didn’t realize there was a good way to see that information.

I just add them to the project Bird Feeders. But I’m not sure if there might be a reason to use fields instead.


Yeah, I would recommend going the project route as well. I find that very few people tend to use fields unless they are attached to a project, so it would likely do more to add to the project.

However, as was said above, it could help if you were adding greater detail than just (near birdfeeder).

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The main benefit of fields is that you can search them. A project might have all birds at birdfeeders, but if people had filled out a field on the food type being eaten, then you could do a search for observations with food type=suet and just see the species that eat suet.

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Perhaps this could be added to a the list for new identifiers. I may not know the bird species but I definitely recognize a feeder.

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In this case, there was no need to create a new project, when we were interested in curatating records to determine if they are birds at feeders or not (rather than asking folks to submit new records). For what it’s worth, we just reviewed ~ 7k records of RTHU and only about 50 or so were in the bird feeder project above. It also seems that more users restrict adding observations to projects, than users that restrict fields. My impression anyway.

We ended up using the ‘bird feeder’ field and specifying the type. Hopefully the increase in the use of this field might encourage others to use it. :)

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