The Bird Wide Web™ is an independent, objective survey of birding resources available to anyone with an internet connection and an up-to-date web browser. Sites, apps, downloads, and other online offerings described here are all tested for the broadest compatibility with different devices and operating systems. Nothing on the web is perfect or guaranteed, but due diligence has been done, and suggestions for improvement to this site are always welcome.

March 2021


For those unfamiliar with it, the idea of a Hawai'ian Crow might seem strange. Why would a bird of North America's agricultural fields and suburban grasslands be found on a tropical archipelago 2000 miles from the mainland? Because it isn't the same bird, is the simple answer. And its unfamiliarity is most likely the result of its present-day rarity, though it was well-known to the ancient Polynesian inhabitants of the islands, who gave it the name 'Alalā, often translated as "The Screamer", for manifest reasons. The last wild pair was found on the slopes of Mauna Loa in 2002.

21st Century birders will have a hard time adding this species to their lifelists, despite a captive breeding and release program, because the four surviving birds out of the thirty most recently released have had to be recaptured for their protection, according to an Audubon Magazine[1] report in October 2020. The breeding program through the Hawai'i Department of Land and Natural Resources[2] continues, however, with the hope of future releases, and with the assistance of the San Diego Zoo.

In the meantime, those who seek this charismatic species (just listen to these vocalizations[3]!) will have to be content with a "Virtual Lifelist", or one which allows the inclusion of captive birds when they are being protected and bred for release to prevent or counteract extinction in the wild. Although there is an excellent, detailed discussion of some of the programs in a recent post by Bird Life International[4], there are in fact nearly a dozen such efforts currently underway globally, supported by agencies, organizations, and private funding. The California Condor reintroduction is the paradigm here.

The current list includes 'Alalā (Hawai'i), Philippine eagle (guess where), Spotted Owl (N. America), Prairie Chicken (N. America), Helmeted Honeyeater (Australia), Orange-bellied Parrot (Australia), Crested Ibis (Asia), Houbara (Africa/Asia), Mauritius Kestrel (Africa), Black Stilt (New Zealand), and Guam Rail. The Rail project is already considered a partial success, which should bring cheer to traditional listers, among others.

There is a very serious side to this issue, of course, for species extinction is the "canary in the coal mine", if you will, for the cumulative effects of pollution, habitat destruction, and climate degradation. Birds can no more fly away from the existential threats they face than humans can. Unlike them, however, we have great power over the environment, and that includes attempts like these to mitigate damage already done. Covid-19 may impede us from hopping a jet to Hawai'i hoping to add an 'Alalā to our life list (this reviewer is a corvid-ophile and would love to do that), but when we can virtually visit[5] (a Favorite) the Project on Vimeo - and experience similar online resources for the other species mentioned above - perhaps it's not a complete disaster if we donate our ticket money instead to one of these dedicated breeding and reintroduction initiatives.


February 2021:

Online Birding Games

Fun, play, learning, and even Fantasy Birding!

January 2021:


Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility come to the birding world.

December 2020:

eBird III - The Count

Community science projects require accurate counting, so eBird and others offer tips, tricks, and tests.

November 2020:

Merlin App

Amazing bird image recognition and identification resource, tested with various photographs.

October 2020:

Bird Videos: The Features

Reviews of several full-length fiction and documentary bird-centered films available online, both pay-for-view and free.

September 2020:

(Best) Bird Cartoons

Remarkable work by Australian editorial cartoonist First Dog on the Moon.

August 2020:

Hawk Watch Reports

Sources for reports of migratory raptor sightings on a local, regional, and national level.

July 2020:

Rare Bird Alerts

Sources for reports of unusual sightings on a local, regional, and national level.

June 2020:

Online Bird Quizzes

An array of fun skills challenges, from ID to songs, and from easy to hard.

May 2020:

Bird Videos - The Sequel

Unique collections of bird-related videos, mostly free, including songs, lessons, and an engaging documentary series.

April 2020:

Birding Ethics

Ethical considerations of many aspects of birding, from location and methods to reporting and goals.

March 2020:

ABA Online Resources

Extensive bird-related material available for non-members on the American Birding Association website.

February 2020:


Migration patterns of birds revealed through real-time analysis of weather radar signals.

January 2020:

Naming That Song III - Bird Lanquage

Moving beyond song recognition to learning what the birds are saying.

The Bird Wide Web™ will be publishing a new article each month.

Recent Favorites:

February 2021


January 2021


December 2020


November 2020


October 2020


September 2020


August 2020


July 2020


June 2020


May 2020


April 2020


March 2020


February 2020


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