London News & Search
For bird enthusiasts, Twitter provides access to all kinds of up-to-the-minute information about birds, birdwatchers, bird books, festivals and birding locations, and any other birding theme you can imagine. I’m not an avid Twitter user but even I find still it yields interesting information and jumping-off points.
While I would most often rather be outside actually birding, in the evening I will sometimes jump into Twitter to get a fix on what’s happening in the birding world.
I like to follow a few local accounts that have a focus on birds. They more or less curate a lot of the London-area nature tweets for me so I can be a little lazy. Twitter accounts such as @HydeParkFeeds and @Featherfields are both great for this, whether I’m seeing a bird photo or learning that the fireflies are out.
I also like to follow accounts that are visually rich. Paul Roedding’s @goodbirding is a London-based account that I follow. It’s wonderful to just trip over a local bird photograph or butterfly shot.
Following the @BirdStudiesCan account of Bird Studies Canada and the American Birding Association’s @ABA helps me to keep my finger on the pulse of bird science. I might not otherwise have known about the latest report from the governments of Canada and the United States on the state of the Great Lakes or current marsh monitoring data.
Some birders such as @JodyAllair and @Birder_Justin have interesting Twitter accounts that I follow. What I like most about these accounts is that they’re active and I can relate to most of the content because Jody Allair and Justin Peter are Ontario-based. That said, each of these birder’s interests in the natural world takes them across the country and around the world.
I follow the Twitter accounts of some Southwestern Ontario locations. By following @PointPeleeNP and provincial parks such as @Rondeau_PP and @PineryProvPark, I can keep my finger on the pulse of park events and news.
If you are planning a trip or if you want to stay in touch with a particular place, it’s easy to tap into regionally-based bird accounts and follow them for a spell.
It was a tweet that reminded me that the results of Audubon’s annual bird photography contest had been released. These photos are always beautiful. I retweeted the story.
Use hashtags if there is a particular theme that you’re searching for.
Since tweets are instant broadcasts of information, some have suggested Twitter would be good for rare bird alerts. Although some unusual bird sightings are tweeted, North American birders typically rely on direct bird alerts from eBird, ONTBIRDS or other rare bird alert services.
Twitter doesn’t replace my favourite birding websites, such as allaboutbirds.org, but it does supplement my bird information nicely. And although I’d rather be lost in the woods, there is occasionally a pleasure in getting lost in the online bird world.
These birds are the original tweeters. This is a nestful of red-winged blackbird chicks. Most nestlings vocalize to signal hunger to their parents. (PAUL NICHOLSON, Special to Postmedia News)
• Twitter’s logo is, of course, a bird. It was designed by Douglas Bowman and is said to be a stylized mountain bluebird.
• The American Ornithological Society (formerly the American Ornithologists’ Union) is the organization that maintains the official checklist of North American birds and has the authority to rule on bird species. There are updates including “splits” and “lumps” each year. There had been rumours that redpoll species may be lumped together. This did not come to pass, however, the Thayer’s gull is now lumped in with Icelandic gulls. Until a split in 1995, Baltimore and Bullock’s orioles were considered one species, the northern oriole.
• Ontario Parks is offering free day use of provincial parks on Friday in support of Healthy Parks Healthy People Day. This is a worldwide movement that highlights the link between a healthy environment and a healthy society.
• Audubon has an annual bird photography contest. To see this year’s winning entries from among the 5,500 photographs submitted, search online for “Audubon Photography Awards: Top 100.”
London News & Search