The blog turns 3 this month.
I know the way to accomplish something and to make it succeed is to be in sync with your audience. Which I’m not to a degree. I could probably have a larger audience if I chased and reported on the latest rare bird. Or spent more time getting good photos instead of enjoying birds. But that isn’t me.
We had just moved to Indiana when I started this blog. I had originally planned to start while we lived in Illinois but the decision to move delayed the start.
The timing worked out well as the intent of the blog then and still is to demonstrate that you can find most regional birds in a small radius of your home. If you just look.
So I had the chance to explore a new area and report on it.
Along those lines I rarely see change. Though I do occasionally see people like Greg of gregandbirds looking for shorebirds at a local athletic fields. But what I mostly see are people still birding the major spots in their areas or travel to other “good” spots. Maybe they are birding lesser known areas but it doesn’t show up on listservs or eBird. For a perspective I think is spot on check out Ven Remsen’s comment about eBird Hotspots in response to this ABA blog post.
I still wonder how many birds are out there but since people don’t seem to want to bushwhack (explore) their local territories we’ll probably never know. Most times it appears birders all congregate at the same area.
In 3 years of repeatedly birding the Atterbury FWA – Johnson County Park area I have seen 196 species. Throw in the rare visit to Eagle Creek and the number is closer to 205. The first three years of birding the Starved Rock area of Illinois I saw 218 species. The numbers are probably comparable since I saw 10 species of gulls plus all the regular terns and herons at Starved Rock. It can be done.
I understand people want to see birds. They go where birds are being reported. But the point is that you can see the vast majority of those same birds in your immediate area without much travel. I’m talking within 10-15 miles of most homes. If you just look.
Take the occasional trip to a different habitat in your state, country, the world. They’re fun and add to your understanding of birds. But for regional birds that much travel isn’t needed.
Sooner than later I’m going to have to address what I see as the shortcomings of eBird, Facebook, ABA, and other birding media. I think they have done more good than bad but all have a self-interest in perpetuating the idea you must drive and travel to see that elusive rare bird or work on building up a huge life list. Which I think in the long run does more harm than good.
Do you know the closest spot to see find the different regional species?