I thought I’d highlight some online resources that have been helpful to me, because if there’s one thing that’s changed about the hobby of birding in the last generation, it’s the explosion of information online. The sharing of sightings by the birder community is a tremendously positive tool. If I see a rare bird, I can easily tell others about it and they can have a decent chance of seeing it too.
The Ohio Birds listserv is a webpage I look at a few times a day. This webpage is part of a much larger network called Birding on the Net, which has pages for other states and links to nationwide and worldwide resources.
A listserv in this context is a webpage that users can add a posting to, sort of like an early internet version of an online forum. This wonderful webpage allows birders across the state to share their bird observations, knowledge, and other pertinent information about the hobby. Imagine all of this info only being shared from mouth to mouth and you can see how useful it is in increasing knowledge.
I stumbled across the Ohio Birds listserv years ago when I saw it linked from the Ohio Ornithological Society webpage. This organization (I am a member) brings together all of the local birding groups in Ohio and brings them to the attention of a wider audience.
The OOS has some nifty resources, such as official Ohio bird count lists and links to interesting blogs. One of my favorite resources there is a very informative site-by-site exploration of birding hotspots in the state, letting you know what birds you can expect to see in particular seasons. Another favorite is the Birder’s Almanac by veteran birder Bill Whan which gives you a general overview of each month in Ohio and what can be seen.
One other resource I have to point out is Cornell University’s All About Birds site, which I frequently use to look up specific information on bird species. There’s all sorts of info there, and a nifty collection of bird cams showing birds live on nests and at feeders.
As you can see there is a wealth of knowledge about birding online, and soon I’ll discuss a particular website that is revolutionizing the hobby and even the science of birding. Stay tuned!