Category Archives: Websites & Blogs

Fun while it lasted

Audubon’s Birding the Net ended on Monday, November 7th, when the final two birds were released. Arthur and I had a lot of fun playing the game, especially during that brief shining moment after the penultimate bird, the Black-capped Vireo, was released, and we were in the top two positions.

The leaderboard with just two participants at 33 birds!

Unfortunately we were not so clever when the last clues were revealed, and though we did eventually find the Sandhill Crane, we were no longer in the running for a top prize.

Find the blog, read the comments, find the Sandhill Crane profile, click the My Web Page link…

… and find the final bird!

Kudos to Audubon for a fun and challenging competition, and congratulations to the winners, which will be announced officially sometime around November 15th.

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Not too late for Birding the Net!

Audubon’s social media campaign-competition Birding the Net began on October 11th. Participants add the app to Facebook and then scour the web for free-flying javascript birdies on various websites, even including this one! Since Arthur and I were entertaining family for the last two weeks, we were pretty much unable to participate. However, with a few Google searches and some mad clicking skills, as of this afternoon we both have 20+ birds. We may or may not have a shot at any of the fabulous prizes, but since I received the following press release just last Friday, it seems Audubon would be more than happy to have more people participating. So, it’s not too late! You’ve got through November 7th to find as many birds as you can. See the full press release below for more info, and check out for more details.


Audubon releases virtual birds
all over the Internet

‘Birding the Net’ campaign will challenge people to find birds throughout the Internet

The first players to collect all the birds will win prizes, including a voyage to the Galapagos Islands

NEW YORK – Birdwatching hit the Internet in a big way when Audubon launched its groundbreaking social media campaign, Birding the Net, on October 11. Visitors to over 100 websites — including AOL, Slate, Discovery Channel and more will encounter unexpected avian visitors – each inviting them to find more birds to add to their lists. The campaign, created by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, will bring the excitement of birds and birding to a broad new audience in a new and unexpected way.

“Birds are the best possible ambassadors for the environment, and this will help people see them in a whole new way,” said David Yarnold, President & CEO of Audubon. “This is about fun – but it’s also about getting more people involved in taking action to protect birds and the planet we share with them. And with this unprecedented use of social media and the web, we’re also making it clear that this is not your grandmother’s Audubon.”
In the recently release film The Big Year, characters compete to see the most North American birds in one year. Birding the Net brings to the Internet the thrill of the chase found in real-world birding, challenging players to spot dozens of species that will be released from Oct. 11 through Nov. 7. Web surfers will observe virtual birds doing the same things that birds do outdoors: animations of birds will fly across homepages, perch on mastheads, and flock to birdhouses that anyone can install on personal websites and blogs. Clicking on the animated birds on the many participating websites takes players to an Audubon Facebook page to collect and trade “bird cards” which feature recordings of birdsongs, bird facts, and video. The first players to collect all the birds will win prizes, including a voyage to the Galapagos Islands.

“This campaign amazingly combines bird preservation, education and alluring animation in an addictive experience that spreads across the Internet,” said Jeff Goodby, Co-Founder and Co-Chairman of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners and long-time supporter of Audubon. Says Goodby, “the game turns the cold digital world into a resonant reminder of what we love about the warm and fragrant natural world around us.”

All that is required to play is to visit Audubon on Facebook at The game will go viral, since trading bird cards helps a player’s chances of winning; the more Facebook friends that compete in Birding the Net, the more opportunities for trading birds. And for exclusive hints on where to find birds on the Internet, Audubon followers on Twitter (@AudubonSociety) can interact and follow campaign “spokesbirds” @FloridaScrubJay and @RufHummingbird.

In addition to the grand prize voyage for two to the Galapagos Islands courtesy of Lindblad Expeditions, prizes include Canon cameras, Nikon binoculars, gift cards to Woolrich and downloads of the Audubon Birds – A Field Guide to North American Birds mobile app from Green Mountain Digital. All 200 winners also receive one-year membership to Audubon.

# # #

About Audubon
Now in its second century, Audubon connects people with birds, nature and the environment that supports us all. Our national network of community-based nature centers, chapters, scientific, education, and advocacy programs engages millions of people from all walks of life in conservation action to protect and restore the natural world. Visit Audubon online at

About Goodby, Silverstein & Partners
Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, a unit of the Omnicom Group, is one of the world’s most respected and most awarded advertising agencies. Founded in 1983, the company is based in San Francisco and has over 700 employees serving a broad array of national and international accounts, including Hewlett-Packard, Frito-Lay, Haagen-Dazs, California Milk Processors Board (“got milk?”), Adobe, Sprint, NBA and many others. For more information on GSP, please visit

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Learning from blogging bird banders

This post is really about a specific niche of bird blogs, but I couldn’t pass up commenting on the bird blog news that has been boggling my mind in the past few weeks.

Seriously, I picked a lousy month to fall behind in my blog reading! October has been an exciting month for bird blogs, to put it mildly. In late September, the Nature Blog Network asked the community for input on expanding the network, and in early October they introduced two new team bloggers. More big changes are on the way. Big recent changes at the ABA include the announcement of a new president on October 4, and a new, multi-authored ABA Blog. On October 18th, the three regular bloggers at 10,000 Birds announced the addition of several beat writers to the team. On October 20th, the multi-authored officially launched. And then, yesterday, the “mega-blog” North American Birding officially launched, although contributors have been posting for a few weeks already.

With all of these new superblogs added to my reading list, I may never catch up. Back to the subject at hand — for this post I wanted to highlight some more neat bird banding blogs that I’ve been following in my quest to learn more about the technicalities of banding birds. Science learns a lot about birds from banding schemes, as mentioned in my last post (which obviously doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface). And I have been learning a lot about birds, and the ins and outs of banding, by following bloggers who band. These are some of the banding-themed blogs that I’ve been following for a while.

The WPBO Owls blog primarily covers Saw-whet Owl banding at the Whitefish Point Bird Observatory. They’ve had a good season this fall.

Net Results is a blog from banders at the Rouge River Bird Observatory at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. In addition to banding birds, they are running a study on the preferred seeds of certain bird species. Pretty neat reading.

Minnesota Birdnerd bands birds near Apple Valley, Minnesota. This blogger also frequently posts radar images showing bird migrations. Very cool.

Faab’s Sightings. Faab is a young birder who rings birds in the Netherlands. It’s neat to see the Dutch perspective on bird ringing – and they get some pretty great birds, too.

Rob’s Idaho Perspective. Rob is a masters biology student, and banding songbirds and raptors is part of his field work.

BSBO Bander’s Blog is from the Black Swamp Bird Observatory in northwestern Ohio. This is a banding station I’ve been lucky enough to visit as a spectator a couple of times. I love this blog because it shows lots of closeups of birds and points out unusual field marks and identification techniques. The blogger also challenges readers with quiz birds.

Alder or Willow Flycatcher
Alder or Willow Flycatcher, Black Swamp Bird Observatory, May 2010

If you search Google for “bird observatory” blog, you’ll find many results (unfortunately, not all of the listed blogs are active). Do you follow any bird banding blogs? Please let me know your favorites in the comments!

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BirdLife Int’l goes social

BirdLife International recently launched a new area on their website called BirdLife Community. The site, currently formatted as a blog, encourages discussion on “the latest news from the frontline in biodiversity protection.” In a recent post, readers are asked Alaotra Grebe extinction – Do you care? BirdLife International does a great job of reporting bird conservation news and I think sharing the latest developments in a blog format is a great idea. The Alaotra Grebe post has garnered 90+ comments already. BirdLife International further embraces social media with their newly created Flickr group.

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Online encyclopedia of Spanish birds launched

BirdLife International announced last week the launch of a new website encyclopedia of Spanish birds. The site is a huge database including bird fact sheets, 1600 photos and over 4000 individual pages.

The encyclopedia is at and you will need the latest version of Adobe Shockwave to view the site.

I had a look at the info page of one of my favorite birds, the Hoopoe. Each fact sheet includes distribution information, an audio file of the call and several photos. Similar birds can also be explored.


The database of birds can be viewed in several languages, including English.


Besides the bird fact sheets, there is a wealth of information on birding and bird life in general.



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Track Dutch Geese Via

Each year approximately 1.5 million geese overwinter in the Netherlands. The mild weather and abundance of meadows and fields make the birds feel at home. With such a large migratory goose population, the country has some responsibility in their welfare. Through an extensive ringing program, questions about the origins and habits of the geese can be answered.

The geese are ringed either around a leg or the neck. The markings are clear enough to be read through binoculars at a distance, to avoid the need to re-catch the same individuals multiple times.

The Goosetrack program will allow the public to contribute to the welfare of the Dutch geese by taking part via SMS and the Internet. Ring data can be sent to Goosetrack via SMS in the field. The site will open in the fall of 2006 and offer information about geese as well as the tracking information.

Source: Nederland is ganzenland

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Ivory-bill Sightings In Florida?

This week researchers from Auburn University and the University of Windsor revealed there were 14 Ivory-bill Woodpecker sightings in the Florida panhandle between May 2005 and May 2006. No photos were captured, however. Read the full story at Birdlife International. For views on both sides of the issue I recommend this skeptic’s blog and this believer’s blog. Above all I highly recommend the Ivory-billed Woodpecker t-shirts and paraphernalia available from

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Belgian Tern Colony Webcam

The largest breeding colony of terns in Western Europe can be seen by everyone thanks to a new webcam installed by BirdLife Belgium. The colony in the port of Zeebrugge hosted over 7,000 pairs of terns in 2004, including Common Terns, Sandwich Terns and Little Terns. The terns reside in an area of the port where public access is restricted, so the webcam at is the only way to view the birds. Read the full story Belgian terns go online! on BirdLife International.

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