Monday, June 1, 2015

Become An Ornithologist 101

I'm no Fatbirder.com, but here are some bomb-de-ziggity birding resources to spice your birding career up. Not my usual type of post, but I'm on a roll of "not-usually-my-type" posts this week. 

Everyone knows good ol' eBird:  where excited beginner birders submit checklists purporting that they had X amount of Code-4-something-something and promptly become embarrassed by their local reviewers ( I totally don't know that from experience. Um. ). Other websites, like allaboutbirds.org, fatbirder.something, and the ABA blog are also excessively discussed by birders as a leaning point for cool bird sites. The websites down below? Not so much.

1. Xeno-canto: "Sharing bird sounds from all around the world."


I hate to sound blithely ignorant,  but I'm not quite sure what xeno-canto refers to either (NEITHER DO YOU, ADMIT IT). According to the best of my ability of Googling skills, Xeno-canto translates to "foreigner- one of the sections into which some long poems are divided." I'm sure there's some poetic backwater meaning or, which would have been the motive in my case, the founders just chose it because it sounds cool. Whatever its meaning, it will retain a place in my mind reserved for cryptic and puzzling mysteries: probably not what they intended, but overanalytical people like me suffer it as a side effect.

"Foreigner- one of the sections into which some long poems are divided" is a website worthy of my one pathetic recording of a Purple Finch, a bird which serves as an apt warning to not let colorblind people name birds after colors. 

2. Avibase: "The World Bird Database." http://avibase.bsc-eoc.org/avibase.jsp?lang=EN

Whoever founded this site had a lot of time on their hands. In other words, definitely not a college student (watch him/her be a college student and angrily digress on this post). Anyhow, they have all their checklists narrowed down to country, province, whatever...maybe they could collaborate with the NSA to provide custom checklists for your backyard,  personal address, or internet searches, too, if the site wasn't based in Canada.

It's an accurate, refreshing site with its own highly liberal taxonomy system that I love and will maybe one day adopt as my world taxonomy system once anyone within a 100-mile radius of here accepts any of its glamour. Oh hey look! Cool: http://avibase.bsc-eoc.org/compare.jsp

3. HBW Alive: "A revolution in ornithological reference works(Exclamation mark!!)"

"What the hell man," all the angry readers of this post exclaimed simultaneously. "You ain't supposed to be advertising on here." Well, I'm not advertising, but HBW Alive is TOTALLY WORTH THE PRICE AND IF YOU CALL 
GIVE-MEMY-$SCAM NOW I'LL GIVE YOU TWO COPIES OF THE WEBSITE AND A PIECE OF LAND ON MARS!  Just watch the video on the site for god's sake and tell me you're a birder and not convinced.

I was convinced but I don't have the money for that, so instead of finding some way to pirate a free version, I asked by parents. There's free functions, too, for the decidedly un-self-indulgent. 

4. The Birds of North America Online: "Welcome. Ladder-backed Woodpecker Photo by Rick and Nora."

Great...another damn thing you have to pay for?? You're birders. You're in the top 5% of the wealth histogram. Don't tell me a full-time worker at McDonalds with three kids can afford binoculars, scope, AND a camera. 

I'm not subscribed to this. I didn't even ask. The prices made me cringe a tiny bit on my future-college-student-insides. Even though I'm receiving $1700 worth in camera gear this week.  But it's a fantastic resource, more than you'll ever absorb in a year of $42, which is how they make money, probably: by being too fantastic to function.

 5. Chiccadee: For the Birds (and the birders): "Insert Creative Motto Here!"

Follow it if you know what's good for you.