Friday, September 6, 2013

A New Platform for Sharing Bird Photos and Sightings - BirdingAcrossAmerica.com

Earlier this summer I was headed to Fargo, North Dakota to visit an old college roommate that I hadn't seen in years.  Since I was going out of state I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to squeeze in a little birding and hopefully see some new birds since I was far from home.  But, Fargo? It just didn't seem like a birding destination.  I didn't know anything about the local scene, so I contemplated subscribing to the North Dakota listserv.  I knew that if I could connect with the local birders that I could maybe get onto some birds during the limited window of time I had.  I never did subscribe as the thought of another state's emails flooding my inbox scared me off.  After an extensive amount of research on my own, I did find a place to bird near Fargo - the Felton Prairie Important Birding Area in Minnesota and managed to pick up a couple of lifers.

Maybe you've been in the same situation.  You're on a business trip or a family vacation and the people you're with are a bunch of non-birders, so you don't have much time to bird.  Being in a new land is the perfect opportunity to see new birds, but where do you go?  While we have great tools at our disposal with eBird and state listservs, there is no substitute for connecting with local, knowledgeable birders who can point you in the right direction depending on what you want to see.


That is why I created birdingacrossamerica.com, a site to share recent bird photos, post sightings, and connect with other birders anywhere in the country.  It is a user-run central hub for bird sightings in all 50 states.




Birdingacrossamerica.com has a page for each of the 50 states.  Each state page contains the following:
  • A photo gallery where users can upload photos of recent birds
  • A section where Google birding maps can be added for birding hotspots in your state
  • A forum where birders can post sightings, ask questions, and connect with fellow birders




User-Friendly Site

Birdingacrossamerica.com is uncluttered and easy to navigate. Uploading photos and posting sightings is very easy. Registration is required, but it's simple.  All  you have to do is create a username, provide an email address, and then you are automatically sent a password to login.  Once you are logged in, you can post sightings and upload photos on each of the 50 state pages.

Birdingacrossamerica.com Needs You!

This site is just getting started, so intrepid birders are needed to colonize the state pages and start uploading photos and sharing sightings.  It's a great place to show off your photogaphy and the birds of your state. It's also a way to keep birders, both in-state and out, up to date on the locations of recently seen good birds. Most of us have benefitted from those kind birding souls who freely share information to help other birders see something special.  This site is a way to give back and do the same for others.  And, who knows, you may benefit from the site when you find yourself in another state hoping to find some birds.



Any registered user can participate in the state photo galleries and sightings forums. Birdingacrossamerica.com is also looking for those hard-core birders who can serve as moderators for their state.  Kudos to Birding Is Fun! founder, Robert Mortensen, for stepping up to the plate by volunteering to moderate both Idaho and Utah!

Birdingacrossamerica.com Featured Blog

You will see on the main page of the site that there are four featured blog posts.  Your guest posts and amazing photographs are needed!  I'd love to see our incredible photographers and bloggers on BiF showcase their work on the blog, but all are welcome to submit posts for consideration.  I plan to change the blog posts frequently to keep them current, so lots are needed! Link-backs to your personal blogs are encouraged and could be rewarded as this less-than-a-week-old site has gotten hundreds of pageviews already.



Birdingacrossamerica.com: It's simple. It's powerful. It's fun.  

Come check it out and help make this site a valuable tool for birders both near and far by getting your state page going.  Its success will depend on users like you. Think of its potential: you could connect with birders anywhere you want to go.  You could see more birds and maybe even make new friends.  But we need some adventurous birders to take the first step. If you have any questions or need help with the site, send me an email at josh@birdingacrossamerica.com and I'll walk you through it.

15 comments:

  1. This sounds as if it will be a great resource, and well done Josh for getting it going. Will it be possible for overseas birders to register so that they can use the site when visiting parts of the US?

    I'll be having a few days in California and Washington early next year and would love to be able to use such a resource. We've got a forum in Australia, birding-aus, that overseas people can use as well as us, but it isn't nearly as broad-based as this sounds as if it will be.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Absolutely - anyone in the world can register! You are exactly the type of birder for which I created the site. I hope by the time that you visit CA and WA that we will have enough activity on the site to make it a valuable resource for you. And if you see and photograph some good birds while visiting, you could be a contributor as well!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Josh, sounds good.How do I go about registering? Can I suggest that somewhere you list abbreviations for the states somewhere for foreigners? Some of them aren't easy to work out if you don't know the states very well! Thanks

      Delete
  3. All the states are written out on the website - I just abbreviated them here. To register, go to any state page (state pages are found under the regional tabs I.e. Midwest, Southeast). At the bottom of any state page, you will see the registration box.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Josh. I registered, and look forward to seeing progress as it happens.

      Delete
    2. Awesome, glad to have you aboard.

      Delete
  4. Cool! Thanks for letting us all know about it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You betcha! (That's Minnesota speak). Spread the word and the site will become useful for us all!

      Delete
  5. Excellent!! Last winter I found what I wanted to know about local sightings while visiting TX on eBird, but when I tried again while visiting another location, I couldn't figure out how I did that! User-friendly works for me!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A user-friendly site with friendly users will help make this a tool we can all use. There's no substitute for connecting with real people for real-time information. Glad you like it!

      Delete
  6. This is really exciting. Looking forward to taking part.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Way to lead by example, Kathy - I love that you got the Texas page started. Great photos, by the way!

      Delete
  7. The list of state pages up and running is growing. There's now activity on Arizona, New York, Texas, Idaho, Minnesota, and Montana!

    ReplyDelete
  8. The list of state pages up and running is growing. There's now activity on Arizona, New York, Texas, Idaho, Minnesota, and Montana!

    ReplyDelete
  9. What a great idea! I have 3 suggestions/observations:
    1. When I signed up, I found myself in what I assume is a "behind the scenes" part of your website (maybe because I'm also a wordpress blogger?). That may be a problem.
    2. You have an underlined url for the new site in your article here, but it isn't a link. That would have been helpful.
    3. Please include local birds as well as rare visitors. What's rare someplace may be common at home. When I travel, I want to see the birds special to that area. (For example, Rosy-finches aren't rare here in Colorado, but they're often a target bird for visitors.)
    Thanks so much for setting this up. I'm looking forward to watching it grow.

    ReplyDelete