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Where Simple Bird Watching And Technology Meet

Aug 17, 2007
Bird watching hobbyists across the globe are enjoying the wealth of information that is now available to them on the internet. In the past, when trying to identify an unknown avian species, resources were limited to bird watching field guides and the written descriptions found in the travel journals of fellow bird lovers. A bird watcher's best hope, when encountering an unidentified bird, was to get a photograph to send off to a school of ornithology or to a known expert.

The ability to come home from a day in the fields of Belize watching birds, or even after bird watching in Costa Rica, and to sit down in front of a computer has given birth to a completely new realm of resources. Bird watchers can visit sites such as birding.com and birdingguide.com to access information about what they have seen through their binoculars while bird watching that day. There are several benefits to websites like these and the photographic resources available on the web.

Photographic resources such as images.google.com allow bird watchers to open high quality images right on the computer screen. A simple search by the bird's name or species will lead the user right to the images that they are looking for with just a few clicks of the mouse. The availability of images such as these give bird watchers the opportunity to immediately identify unknown species that they may have seen that day, while the mental images are still fresh.

One of the features that bird watchers who are internet savvy might find of particular interest is the communities that exist on the bulletin boards of websites catering to bird watching. These forums allow users to start, and participate in, conversations concerning a wide variety of topics that relate to birding.

Some conversations, called threads, are global in their scope and may include broad topics like equipment, which are not geographically specific. Other threads may be very geographically specific and give local bird watchers a place to share individual information about sightings and numbers in special locations that probably are not of interest to someone outside of that region.

Though the internet is a great place to gather information, it is also an ideal place to spread information. Many local clubs and groups utilize websites to inform local bird watching enthusiasts about upcoming field trips, seminars, or workshops. In some cases, a group's website may even replace its paper mailings in an effort to save money on postage and printing fees. Any bird watcher who is interested in volunteering in some capacity should make it a habit to check the local websites on a regular basis.
About the Author
John Edmond writes regularly for a number of websites on on outdoor recreation and pursuits including spotting rare birds and winter camping.
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