The Lehigh Gap Nature Center will conduct its annual Lehigh Gap Area Feeder Watch on the weekend of Feb. 14-16.

Seventy-seven volunteers participated in the survey last February and sighted over 4,000 birds of 40 different species. Nearly 45,000 birds have been tallied in the 17 years of counting.

The Feeder Watch is one of the nature center's long-term research projects.

Since birds are excellent indicators of environmental quality, a long-term study like the Feeder Watch may provide valuable data about environmental quality in the study area.

It is important to have a large number of volunteers to gather enough data for the survey to be more accurate.

Former participants will be sent a packet for the 2014 survey, but additional feeder watchers are welcome and needed.

The objective of the Feeder Watch is to sample the numbers and species of birds visiting backyard feeders on a particular winter day at as many feeders as possible in an area around Lehigh Gap. The results will be published by the nature center and distributed to local news media.

The Feeder Watch survey is conducted by volunteers who live within a 15-mile radius of Lehigh Gap.

Anyone in that geographic area with one or more bird feeders of any type in their yard, and who can identify the individual species of birds that visit the feeders, is invited to participate.

Volunteers are asked to spend a few hours each day over the weekend of Feb. 14-16, observing their feeders and recording any visitors.

The event is an opportunity for backyard bird watchers to make a contribution to a scientific study.

The Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society started a similar project one year after the LGNC count began, and LGNC officials encourage participants to submit their count data to Cornell's Great Backyard Bird Count as well as to LGNC.