I and the Bird

Welcome to the 2nd anniversary edition of I and the Bird, the quintessential blog carnival for bloggers who love birds and birding. Two years! Since the very first edition of I and the Bird, we’ve had literally hundreds of contributors. Even more impressive, of the 16 original contributors, all but one are still blogging actively (Stercoriarus, wherefore art thou?) If I and the Bird can serve as a useful barometer, one would have to conclude that the state of the birding blogosphere is strong.

Is it possible that the state of our interweb union of avian observers is too strong? Steve Rubel, one of the most prominent, perceptive voices in micropublishing, sparked a fire when he wrote of the Attention Crash, positing that, “we are reaching a point where the number of inputs we have as individuals is beginning to exceed what we are capable as humans of managing.” I know of what the man speaks. The number of birding blogs, or if we’re really being honest, nature blogs, has far surpassed my ability to keep up with. Every day, you and I are missing out on countless trip reports and ecological insights, not to mention the phenomenal photos. We’ve been overrun by an embarrassment of riches.

How can you survive this barrage of birding content? I recommend a robust feed reader and a willingness to use it. Pull the content to you to read at your leisure. What could be easier? Subscribing to your favorite blogs ensures that you never miss a post while keeping you focused on a manageable 10-100 blogs at a time. In order to help you get started populating your feed reader (I use Google Reader in case you were curious) here’s a list of superlative sites, each one willing to write about wild birds on at least an occasional basis. To help you decide which sites strike your fancy, we’ve got lavish descriptions of each one. Be warned though… not everyone provided their own tagline, so in some cases I’ve taken poetic license.

Although our contributors are listed in alphabetical order, A DC Birding Blog would have to be at the top of any list of, well, birding blogs. John modestly describes his site as “Birding news and observations” but readers know there’s much more going on there. Start with his analysis of the recent decision to remove endangered status from the Bald Eagle and keep reading.

Duncan at Ben Cruachan Blog is another I and the Bird stalwart. He’s been a part of this collaboration from the beginning, for which I am extremely thankful. Another blogger afflicted with a sense of modesty, Duncan describes Ben Cruachan as “A blog about birds and nature.” I prefer something along the lines of “Your life will be woefully unfulfilled until you’ve seen Australia as Duncan describes it.” His post about a birday and an annibirdary is a good example of why this slogan fits.

Big Spring Birds is a relatively new, but welcome addition to the roster. Vern describes his site as “All things to do with birds of the Big Spring Watershed, Cumberland County, the great state of Pennsylvania, and the world. This blog is all birds all the time!” Who can’t get behind that enthusiasm? Here, Vern introduces Leslie the Least Sandpiper, a very special shorebird.

The Birdfreak team stands for “Building a Conservation Community Through Birding – we feel that the more birders there are, the more conservation there will be, and the more birds will survive to encourage even more birders.” Eddie puts his money where his mouth is in introducing a Birding Pal to some outstanding Illinois avifauna.

I’ve never read Curious Expeditions (Travelling and exhuming the extraordinary past) before, but am most intrigued by the examination of eggers and Nest Raiders. It’s astonishing that anyone has ever taken pleasure from such a barbaric pastime, yet the practice persists to this day.

Earth, Wind & Water is about Tai Haku’s “Musings on life in the air, on the earth and underwater direct from a small island somewhere in the Caribbean.” Tai’s underwater photography is breathtaking, but his avian adventures, like this quest for St. Vincent’s endemic amazon, the St. Vincent Parrot, are nothing to sneeze at.

Ecobirder blogs about “Birding, Wildlife, Environment.” He’s also an aficionado of excellent avifauna from Minnesota to Florida, exploring the former in this trip to Crex Meadows.

Gulf Crossings, the blog of the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory, chronicles “the study and conservation of birds and their habitat in and around the Gulf of Mexico.” Bill can always be counted on to ask the tough questions, in this case, “Have you ever seen a grebe in flight?” I thought I had, but now I’m not so sure!

Living the Scientific Life has also been a frequent contributor to this carnival over the years. Grrlscientist may be “Scientist Interrupted” but we all know her as the “Bird News Maven.” Here’s her review of the Peterson Reference Guides: Gulls of the Americas.

Kevin proclaims that Natural Visions is about “Photography, Birds, the Environment, and…” He may leave the description open-ended, but his remarkable photos do the talking for him. He even makes Cowbird Chicks look good!

Speaking of looking good, Naturalist Notebook, formerly Bird Watcher’s Notebook has a lovely new design. Summer’s “observations of wild birds, wildlife, invertebrates and nature in all her glory in Southwestern New Mexico, plus news and musings” are delivered in a unique voice. Here, she explains how viewing wildlife helps her Pause and Reconnect.

Julie Dunlap presents Pines Above Snow as “Taking a literary approach to environmental conservation.” Her earnest desire to spread the word about all of the inspiring nature books out there is itself inspiring and her musings on The Tree No One Knew are both literary and environmental.

Snail’s Tales is a true original. Aydin spins stories about “snails, slugs, natural history, evolution and everything else,” which apparently includes healthy servings of both beer and birds. In this case, I think it’s his Mailbox Robin who’s been drinking.

The Birdchaser is “A self-described bird junkie celebrating the art, science, sport, and mystery of living with birds.” Rob also happens to be an Audubon Senior Scientist who looks at bird chasing in a way no one else does. Check out his original take on Reefer Madness.

Liza Lee maintains The Egret’s Nest: “What makes me tick? My family. My job. My dog. And, my birds. Oh, and chocolate. Don’t forget the chocolate.” How can you not love that? And how can you not love A Two Green Heron Day? Remember Liza Lee’s name, because it will come up again later.

The Hawk Owl’s Nest has become required reading for nature lovers of every stripe. “Dedicated to birds, bugs, and botany, Patrick explores New Jersey and beyond while sharing his experiences as an Associate Naturalist for NJ Audubon.” I can think of few sites I follow as closely as his. Read about the agony and ecstasy of his 500th ABA bird and you’ll understand why.

Another blogger that requires, nay demands attention is Clare of The House and Other Arctic Musings: “While ostensibly about building the House, or the High Arctic, is really the meanderings of an inconsistent mind. Oh look, something shiny, I’ll talk to you later.” Don’t let the tagline fool you; Clare writes with crystal clarity, given to waxing philosophical on topics as sundry as kilts, breaking ice, and The Bird Not Seen.

Over at The Greenbelt, the Ridger has a lot on her mind: “Language, Liberalism, Freethought, Birds: and miscellaneous other things, like astronomy poems and photos. Really, it’s just this blog, you know?” The world needs more free thinkers, as well as more Wrens in Petunias.

The Nightjar offers a place “Where the Ancient World meets the Modern World (and birds!)” Will may be somewhat new to the bird blogging scene, but he’s an absolute ace in the field. He and Corey have been tearing up the Adirondacks together, recently spotting, among other things, Loons, Grebes and Deer Flies, Oh My!

Wanderin’ Weeta (With Waterfowl and Weeds) has got “Notes and photos from wanderings in the Lower Fraser Valley, BC.” This lover of birds, green stuff, tiny beasties, and oddities just bumped into an adorable baby chickadee, or rather, the chicklet bumped into her deck. Ouch!

Cindy describes Woodsong as “Off the Beaten Path.” I’ve always seen her site as one of the most exquisite lenses through which to admire the staggering natural beauty of Michigan and all points beyond. Cindy writes as well as she shoots, offering here her Declarations of Independence.

Words & Pictures is “A UK-based blog serving up a blend of text and images on an assortment of topics, including birds, bugs and botany.” Roger invariably has some topic of interest to discuss, for example the travails of a rare yellow-nosed albatross found exhausted on a beach in Somerset, UK.

WTTF (Welcome to the Future) is new to IATB, but Jeremy Hitchcock is a cartoonist who clearly has insights into the avian condition. I’m going to violate my own rule about multiple links to a blog by recommending his further comedic insights into issues like avian nesting behavior and habitat destruction.

Last but not least come offerings from this humble blog. You do subscribe to 10,000 Birds, don’t you? If you don’t, you might have missed Corey’s lauded discovery of the truly rare Jones Beach Yellow-headed Blackbird or Charlie’s tour de force on Mallards both hybrid and manky.

Thus concludes a bevy of bird blogs that would do any feed reader proud. I hope you’re looking forward to what the next year will bring the nature blogging niche as much as I am! Speaking of which, the next year of I and the Bird starts now. Send a link and summary to your best blog post about birding or wild birds to me or our next splendid host, Liza Lee (lizaleemiller AT gmail DOT com) at The Egret’s Nest. IATB #54 is scheduled for 7/26 so please send your submissions no later than 7/24.

Written by Mike
Mike is a leading authority in the field of standardized test preparation, but he's also a traveler who fully expects to see every bird in the world. Besides founding 10,000 Birds in 2003, Mike has also created a number of other entertaining but now extirpated nature blog resources, particularly the Nature Blog Network and I and the Bird.