for The Kestrel, the newsletter of the Rocky Mountain Naturalists
by Dianne Cooper
Looking for stuff on the internet to supplement your curiosity about birding? Wondering how the internet can enhance your field time? Here are a few digital resources:
One terrific web service automatically searches Twitter for you then spits out a webpage that looks like a newspaper. It is called paper.li
And you don’t need a Twitter account to view these ePapers!
You will see photos, videos, tweets, and headlines with links to blogs and major website articles.
ePapers you may enjoy are:
gathering every tweet containing the tag #birding.
gathering all tweets tagged #bcbirding, #bcnature and #birding as well as BC rarities tweeted by Russell Canning via his twitter account: @bcbirdalert. I started and update this ePaper.
But, Twitter is one of those “the more the merrier” resources.
How can a name like that NOT appeal to birders! Indeed, Twitter is being used by birders and birding organizations all over the world to share sightings, their enjoyment of birdie happenings, news, blogs, and photos.
How it works:
You start an account, then follow others who have similar interests or people you may even know.
POST A TWEET – share small tidbits, links to your photos and blogs, or whatever.
FOLLOW other tweeters and read their tweets on your timeline = the list of yours and their tweets.
SEARCH everyone’s tweets for stuff you are interested in. Search for a keyword, such as ‘kootenay’ or one with a hashtag such as ‘#bcbirding’.
You can do this from your internet-connected desktop, laptop, tablet (iPad, etc.) or if you are really digital, from your mobile phone.
Who to follow:
The BEST things about Twitter are …
There are myriad nature websites out there! Information overload can strike. Twitter to the rescue! You can use it like a headline service.
Maybe you have subscribed to email alerts telling you when a website’s newsletters is updated – your inbox is flooded, perhaps, or their emails are gobbled by your email filtering. But, you want to see what’s new on those websites, it’s so confusing! You try to remember their name, or find the link in the bookmarks of your internet browser, but there are just so many!
If a website or organisation is active and interesting, it will have a Twitter account and post notices of new articles, or other Tweeters will mention a good article.
Once you follow their accounts or those of keen tweeters that forward links (called ‘retweeting’ = ‘RT’) you can simply browse the entries on your twitter page / timeline.
Once you really get the hang of Twitter, you can create sets of people you follow – say birders, for example – and create a list. Selecting a list shows you only the tweets from people on your list.
Search for any topic your heart desires, anytime.
Yahoo groups around us:
Yahoo hosts webpages where you can share your interest in birding by geographic location.
You need a Yahoo account. If you’ve misplaced your account name and password, just start a new Yahoo account – and ‘write’ the info down somewhere (see Tip below).
Above links are disabled to stop spambots. Just put 'http://' in front in your web browser
Most good groups require granting of permission to join. Follow the instructions when you sign up.
Store your passwords
Create a Word or Excel file, copy and paste the web addresses into this file – they should automatically become links that you can just click on; your internet browser will open on that webpage.
After you have created this file, right click on its name in your documents and save it as a shortcut on your desktop so it will be handy for when you want to browse your sites.
Bird and Song Identification
An online identification service using your field observations to narrow down the possibilities.
Makers of the iBird series of bird identification applications for mobiles (phones, tablets), this site offers birders a unique interface to identify a new species or check your id’s. You gotta see it to figure it out, so take a look. It would be best used if you have taken really detailed field notes or have a very good picture of a bird in your mind.
Browse by species to hear their songs and calls from all over the continent. Quiz yourself.
Run by Environment Canada and others, this site gives you access to a comprehensive set of bird songs, calls and photos.
After listening to bird species’ songs from various parts of the continent, you will realize there is a lot more variation than you thought.
You may have to contact them to set up an account (participants in the Breeding Bird Atlas of British Columbia had their accounts set up for them already, so, if you are registered with the BBA, contact Nature Instructor for your user name and password).
All About Birds
Online field guide searchable by species name.
Figure out the species you are looking for by entering your guess in the search box, then browsing the species accounts and similar species until you narrow it down. Browse a species’ sounds from the Macaulay Library of bird songs; photos, videos, id tips, range, etc. Run by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology which also does eBird, Project Feeder Watch, and much more.
User-contributed Web Compilations:
Share and compile your own sightings from anywhere in the world.
With an account, you can see your life lists, your geographical lists by Major Region, Country, State/Province or County (Regional Districts of British Columbia), or a list of every place you have seen one species.
Without an account, you can still browse lists, bar graphs, and maps generated from all contributors’ sightings.
|Thailand eBird hotspots|
Finding ‘hotspots’ to visit
Hotspots are good birding locations suggested by eBirders and accepted by eBird to make data entry quicker.
If you are going on a birding trip to a new place you can use this trick to find hotspots:
pretend you are going to submit observations then use the ‘Find it on a Map’ feature to browse a map for the names and locations in the region you are interested in.
Internet Bird Collection
Contribute to a user-based field guide and browse it.
Sponsored by Handbook of the Birds of the World (http://www.lynxeds.com)
For a ginormous amount of serious bird info, like if you are planning an international birding trip; or have a lot of time to bird by armchair you can go to:
Look up a bird species anywhere in the world, in multiple languages and get all kinds of info and news.
Run by Bird Studies Canada, Birdlife International and Denis Lepage – who also does all the web stuff for the Breeding Bird Atlases.
Birding On The Net
Digital compliation of all links, archives, and anything to do with birds, everywhere.
News, anything posted by anybody on yahoo groups, aka ‘litserves’.
Run by J. Siler of Network Solutions, in Drums Pennsylvania.a.