Saturday, April 30, 2011

I and the Bird. #149

Posted by Kirk
Spring is a time of new beginnings. Here in the Northern Hemisphere, spring migration is on. Just this morning I set out for a hike to be greeted by newly arrived Orange-crowned, Black and White and Nashville Warblers along with Ovenbirds, Eastern Towhees and endless flocks of White-throated Sparrows. These birds and others are coming to northern breeding grounds to start life anew. Hundreds of thousands of people have watched the Bald Eagles in Decorah, Iowa this spring hatch out three chicks live on streaming video over the internet. New birding apps such as BirdsEye allow us to locate birds in the field by sharing our observations across the web so they can almost immediately be downloaded onto hand-held devices. It is within this picture of new beginnings and new technology that we face and ending as well. This very well may be the last ever edition of I and the Bird.

Mike Bergin started I and the Bird as a Bird Blog carnival back on July 7, 2005. It was a new fresh idea at the time. A rotating cast of hosts collect some of the best user submitted bird writing and photography from around the web, wrap it up in a pretty package and deliver it to readers bi-weekly so they can learn about new blogs, writers, photographers, birds and adventures. It has been a success spanning six years. This 149th edition carries on that tradition but all things must end. Submissions have waned and each month it has been harder and harder for Mike to get people to host.

People are using the internet differently than they were back in 2005. Blogging is still a viable platform but there are other outlets as well now. With the growth of Facebook, Twitter and even photo sharing sites like Flickr, some people who used to blog have moved on to other platforms to deliver their messages. This is a good thing as some of these other platforms and venues are better suited to the types of content these people wanted to deliver. Content is now shared through twitter feeds and carefully curated twitter lists. You can, for example, subscribe to either the Twin Cities Naturalist twitter feed or a list I curate of good nature writers online. There are Facebook user groups about birds, there are daily bird-themed virtual newspapers hosted by Instead of waiting weeks for the Bird and I you can get a daily digest of the #bird hashtag or a curated daily look at bird news. These new technologies and more will probably mean the end to I and the Bird but it's been a good run. Crack open a drink and raise a glass or perhaps pick up your bins and raise the glass to Mike Bergan and all the hosts and contributors who have made I and the Bird possible. You are all part of an incredible community and I hope we can all keep contributing to the online and real world birding scene in our own ways.

Here's what we've all been up to lately.

Peneolope's been investigating the underbelly of the Pine Siskin. Some days, underbellies are all you get so study up intrepid birders.

Just to the North, Minnesota Birdnerd Roger Everhart takes a Sunday stroll and makes getting beautiful shots of a Sora seem like child's play.

John Beetham reviews the new book, Hawks at a Distance. I just had my hands on this title last week and it is now on my wish list. You may want to check it out too after reading his review.

What would I and the Bird be without sex? Clare Kines doesn't disappoint with some copulating Gryfalcons. Don't say you didn't get your weekly fix of bird smut.

Mike Benzer over the The Slugyard lives up to the tagline on his blog, "the world outside you door" with a series of photos of the common birds that show up in his yard. I wish I could say towhees were common in my yard!

Lynne Schoenborn heads up to Hasty Brook and scores some beautiful shots of Evening Grosbeaks. How can a bird with such a massive bill pull off looking so delicate?

James Brush over at Coyote Mercury keeps the IATB poetry tradition alive with what is now my favorite bird poem.

Jade Blackwater raises a call to arms for I and the Bird and shares shots of a Great Blue Heron.

I believe Duncan has had something in every single I and the Bird. He first shares some background on the Yellow Gum tree and the shares a sound clip of the wattles feasting on said tree. I don't think I could make a less soothing noise if I scraped a violin string with a rusty nail while stepping on a cat.

The Ridger over at The Greenbelt shows us all how goslings take to water like a, well, goose to water.

Is Secret Mountain Wilderness the most beautiful phrase in the English language? Vanessa Mickan thinks so and I'm guessing the ravens do too.

Trevor's been using his 20x zoom to get up close and personal with some Crested Pigeons this week.

Linda captures the spring search for sandhill cranes in poem form.

Susannah over at Wanderin Weeta pauses for a moment to reflect on some Canada Geese at Sunset. For those that get all freaky about common names take note, these geese are in Canada so technically you can call them Canadian geese as well without incurring too much wrath.

Dave Ingram sent in a submission called Fish Wrangling and the title didn't prepare me for the mind-blowing beautiful photos of fish eating birds on display at his site. I will now go destroy my camera.

Rob Miller out in Idaho brings you what you demand. More raptor sex. If you didn't get enough from the Gryfalcon above, Rob summarizes the not so tender love affair of local Cooper's Hawks and gives us a glimpse of other neighborhood birds.

Mark droped his spotting scope and had to make emergency repairs. Super glue or Duct tape? You'll have to read to find out.

Ellen Prather over at 8 eyes photography submitted a photo gallery of beautiful bird shots. Drink in the goodness though your eyes.

Like I need another reason to go back to Costa Rica, Pat O'Donnell shares photos of a trip to El Toucanet Lodge and we're treated to seven species of hummingbirds, the Resplendent Quetzal and more.

If you haven't had enough hummingbirds after that then head over to the Birders Report where Larry Jordan shares photos and video of the Rufous Hummingbird.

Last be not least, 10,000 birds is a great example of where you can get your bird fix other than I and the Bird. Some of the best bird bloggers online have joined forces to present all the bird news fit to publish. Along the way, they've become one of the most influential voices in the online birding community. You can now even follow them on twitter to get all the hottest stories tweeted right to your account. Mike this week nominated Duncan Wright's awesome look at Great Frigatebirds as an example of the great articles they present.

Whether or not this is the end of I and the Bird I know one thing. There will continue to be incredible bird writing and photography out there every day and I'm happy to be a part of such a wonderful community of people willing to share their fascination with and inspiration from birds and nature every day. Bird on.



Larry said...

Nice job Kirk! I hope this isn't the last IATB. Bird carnivals and memes are a great way to meet new bloggers and share information. After all, I met my friend Scott Artis that way and together we have created the Burrowing Owl Conservation Network and are on our way to creating a conservation strategy for this beautiful bird out here in California. Together, bloggers have many conservation opportunities and can create some powerful groups to benefit our beloved birds.

James Brush said...

Excellent edition. Sad to see it go if this is to be the last.

flowergirl said...

Just got here. I shall read all the links over the weekend.

IATB has been such an enjoyable "around the world" experience, I will surely miss it.