November 2018

Birding Blogs

Because this article is on this website, it could appropriately be called a "blog", as it is a log (a series of repeated, periodic entries) on the web - a "web-log", shortened to "blog". The subject of The Bird Wide Web blog is online resources, entertainment, and community for birders. The topic of this particular entry is blogs - repeated, periodic online postings for birders. If this sounds self-referential, it is! This article could be featured in someone else's bird-focused blog.

As mentioned in the October 2018 article on podcasts, some of those are also available in online written form as a blog, with added illustrations, links, etc. An excellent example is Laura Erickson's For The Birds[1], which is updated even more often than her regular podcasts/radio shows. The "Doctor Ruth of Ornithology", she offers decades of excellent bird (and family) photos, discussions of the morality she finds in closely observing nature, and displays an astonishingly broad spectrum of knowledge regarding all things bird.

Another podcast-related blog is Bill Of The Birds[2], from Bill Thompson III, editor of BirdWatcher's Digest. More like a web magazine than a true blog, it's loaded with weblinks, ads, and is about as "monetized" as a blog can be. Nonetheless, it's full of interesting tidbits, and is worth a visit if just for the wonderful list of links to other blogs, many of which are far superior in a narrowly bird-ophile way.

For an astonishing outpouring of crystal-clear, well-organized photos keyed to the seasons, the work of Lillian Stokes presented in the Stokes Birding Blog[3] is simply unsurpassed. A worthy companion to the Lillian and Don Stokes series of birding guides (prominently shown on the right of each page), over a dozen years of postings are available in addition to the most recent offering. A true gem!

Closer to home, our neighboring Audubon chapter with 7000 members and 5 paid staff also finds time to produce a roughly bi-weekly blog, the Golden Gate Birder[4] from GGAS. The great variety of topics by a vast number of writers is always well-written and timely. One useful feature is the Category index, which makes this blog a good source for background info. And, there's yet another list of blog links, mostly local, but also including 10000 Birds[5] - which has to be seen to be believed.

It's possible to "sign up" for these blogs, each in a slightly different way. Golden Gate Birder, for example, can be "Followed", using Firefox Live Bookmarks and MyYahoo or through an RSS "feed" sign up. Stokes Birding Blog and Bill Of The Birds use the term "Subscribe", while Laura Erickson offers an email list for new posts of For The Birds. 10000 Birds even promises a daily emailed update!

Each of these blogs can be accessed through a browser, and either the current posting or a selection from the blog archives chosen to be read or viewed. There is also another way, which like sightings lists (see the January 2019 column of this series) actually predates the Web and browsers. RSS feed apps offer a way to have blog updates automatically delivered to your device and available whenever you want. All the blogs you like can be read through the same application, without having to manually go to each one individually. The following RSS applications are highly recommended by those who use them, either as desktop web-based services or mobile apps, and have free versions available:

Feedly[6] - considered by many to be the best successor to Google Reader, on which it was originally based, but which was discontinued several years ago.
Feeder[7] - possibly the most barebones reader, but still full-featured.

With either of these, it's a simple matter to add a blog to your feed, by clicking on the RSS icon on the blog's home page once you have an account with the reader service.

The Bird Wide Web™ will be publishing a new article on the beginning of each month.

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