All good things, it is said, must come to an end. Of course, we know that so much of what thrills and inspires us survives on a much longer timeline than we ourselves do. Seasons may come and go, blossoms bloom and wither, warblers arrive in full throat only to depart in traveling drab, but still nature abides. We who take so much comfort and joy in patterns traced upon a much younger world than this sometimes miss the forest for the trees.
Then again, sometimes we just enjoy checking out cool trees! Nothing wrong with that… what true naturalist hasn’t geeked out to the most minute element of a vast ecosystem on a regular basis? But the loss of one tree doesn’t faze the forest (unless it triggers an ecological cascade effect, which is neither here nor there!)
The poignant point I’m trying to make in such a circuitous fashion is that I and the Bird is ending its run as the blog carnival devoted to birding and wild birds. I and the Bird, you may know, has served as the biweekly showcase of the best bird web writing around the world published since July 2005. Nearly six years later, our engaging collaboration still enjoys plenty of support, especially among stalwarts who have been a part of our community since they first started blogging.
However, the blog carnival just ain’t what it used to be. In a discussion across a variety of media about the future of I and the Bird, one point that became clear was that the blog carnival, despite the many advantages participants and hosts still enjoy, does not truly speak to the online audience of 2011. I can respect that; after all, how many of the elements of online life in 2005 still exist unchanged today (insert outdated technology here… I can’t remember back that far) or at all?
So the time has come to retire I and the Bird. Perhaps it will rise like the proverbial phoenix, once again new and exciting as it leverages whatever format we will adopt next to aggregate outstanding content. Perhaps instead I and the Bird will simply serve as a testament to how hundreds of bird bloggers (with many thousands of readers) across the globe collaborated over many years to share their best work and enjoy the work of others during a certain era of the web. The IATB page will remain on 10,000 Birds, so feel free to peruse editions from our storied history; surprisingly many links are still live! What will replace I and the Bird? Blog carnivals may not be the answer, but so many terrific links are shared through social media every day that no one need fear a dearth of curated content. And new forms will emerge, maybe sooner than you think.
But let’s not lay flowers on our old friend’s tomb just yet. We have one last IATB to enjoy, this one lovingly hand-crafted by Kirk Mona of Twin Cities Naturalist. Kirk graciously shares a myriad of ways for IATB aficionados to enjoy all of the bird blogging they can handle in a sweet swan song edition of I and the Bird #149!
Many thanks to Kirk and all of our other awesome hosts and contributors over the last 149 editions. I’ve always maintained that one of the best aspects of birding was how genuine other birders are. That characteristic warmth, intelligence, and inquisitiveness seem magnified tenfold in bird bloggers. While the existence of a national or international birding community may be debatable, the power of the I and the Bird community has always been evident. I’ll miss being connected to so many of you through your biweekly submissions, so drop me a line every now and then!
Thanks as well to the regular readers of I and the Bird. Some assume that the contributors and readership are entirely one and the same, but I know how many people out there who aren’t bloggers still follow what the rest of us do. I appreciate your support for our sprawling collaboration over the years, and I’m not the only one!
So the bird blogging carnival is done, but bird blogging continues bigger than ever here at 10,000 Birds and all around the world. If you haven’t found what you’re looking for yet, you probably haven’t been reading IATB all these years!!