Sunday, July 02, 2006

Why, why, why?

Why do I bird? Originally because it became part of my job in 1998. That summer, I began working on WildBird, which was my first exposure to "birding" as opposed to my parents' random lessons about local birds. Now I bird because it helps me to reconnect with nature, which my parents taught me to appreciate.

While living in an urban environment, it can be easy to lose sight of the natural world. Listening to and looking for birds keeps things in focus. When not walking around a local preserve or the neighborhood, I'm trying to place the birds' calls when they float through the car windows or track a Black Phoebe as it zips around the back yard, snapping up insects. It’s almost second nature now to react to those sounds and sights while going about the everyday routine.

In a similar sense, it's almost second nature to blog. This medium lets me share info about birds and nature instantaneously; it's awesome. Aside from the instant gratification, I like the chance to connect with folks who otherwise wouldn't cross my path. I totally enjoy the affiliations that the blogosphere facilitates, and that aspect made me into a blog addict long before I started WildBird on the Fly.

The blog lets me further indulge the reporting skills that I learned as a journalism student. At birding events, I can interview birders, describe field trips and take pictures of the goings-on. While in the office, I get a kick out of going online, finding a news bit that might not have appeared on other birding blogs, choosing the pertinent or interesting grafs, creating the hyperlinks, looking for a photo, pushing that Publish button and immediately seeing how it looks.

More appealing than that process, though, is the possibility that someone will read a post, learn something new... and do something with that information. For instance, the post about blind birding included hyperlinks to Massachusetts Audubon Society and the Great Texas Birding Classic. A reader who likes the idea of helping blind individuals learn birdsongs and connect with nature can use the links to contact those organizations and ask for tips about setting up a similar local program. That’s the ultimate payoff for my efforts: readers taking action on behalf of other birders and the birds.

Black Phoebe courtesy of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

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