04 December 2011
More than just social networking - BC birding groups on the net
BC bird groups on the net
Here is a list of internet groups devoted to birds in BC.
If your birding interests include help in identification, a bit of regional and / or seasonal listing, a bit of zoogeography, a bit of photography, etc. I recommend you join the appropriate group.
There is still a place for these groups within the realm of internet resources.
Facebook and twitter are great for keeping in touch with the actual people doing the birding, and for being alerted to recent sightings BUT as an archive, these fall short for searchability.
eBird is great for seeing the actual data, if people have entered it, but it is still far under-used and does not put you in touch with the actual observers, also, vetting of confirmation of sightings is not public, and photos are not shared.
These groups, the people contributing to them, and the discussions, data and photos archived in them are invaluable, extremely helpful, and fun to read.
British Columbia Interior bird and nature photos - Google group
British Columbia Interior - Yahoo group
British Columbia - all -Yahoo group
East Kootenay - Yahoo group
West Kootenay - Yahoo group
Vancouver Island - Yahoo group
One beauty of these groups, as opposed to facebook and other social network communication, is that their archives are searchable, and go back many recent years. If you were to attempt a search with a major search engine to try to find out, for example, at what time of year and where exactly have snowy owls been seen in BC the best you may come up with, of data contained in these groups, is a reference on the website "birdingonthenet" which gathers all references from all these lesser sites; whereas, if you go to these groups' webpages you can search their archives directly.
I think, of all the things humans are interested in, that birding, in all its dimensions from backyarders to conservationists, through to listers, benefits the most from the internet and its myriad vehicles and resources: groups, blogs, photosharing, mapping, online databases, fan pages, social networks, and so on.
My two bits