Blogging About Birds

Almost every week someone tells me they read my blog on Ornithology.com  There are many other bird blogs across the U.S. and world, most focused on local birds. Some are: 10,000 Birds , Bill of the Birds, Birdchick , and the Top 80 Websites for Ornithologists and Bird Lovers. You might want to check those out.

Be skeptical of every blog, though. I am all for freedom of speech but I have found some disturbing language in some blogs. I’ve seen lots of misspellings, improper punctuation and the misuse of words like affect for effect, its and it’s, your and you’re, and there and their. When I see crummy writing or spelling I suspect crummy content. And there is nothing more annoying than someone blogging nonsense. Opinion is one thing; fallacy is another. Recently I found a blog which said that chickens sit on eggs which are oriented in the nest the same way they are in egg cartons, pointy end up. Baloney. And this was supposed to be a science blog!

A lot of bird blogs focus on birding – field trip reports, rare birds in the area, etc. I do that but I like to vary my blogs; sometimes I write about specific birds or bird groups, sometimes I talk about phenomena like migration, or anatomy or physiology or behavior or some other aspect of birds and birding. Occasionally I broach controversial subjects, which I really don’t want to do, but evolution and climate change affect (not effect) birds greatly. I occasionally refer to local  sites  or issues, but mostly stay general because this blog is on the web and can be accessed from anywhere in the world.

The word blog comes from web and log, a log or kind of diary kept on the web. There are some very useful blogs with interesting information, but there are bunches of them that are just boring diaries written by someone who figures their life is so interesting it ought to be offered to the world. Sometimes that is true but often it is not. Honestly, I don’t care that the sky was gray and threatening when you woke up in your tent and heard a bird singing. I could not care less that your jeep broke down in the woods while birdwatching and you had to walk home.  But I’m being a little critical here. Some people like that kind of writing. It has its place.

And then there are the included photos. A good bird photo is hard to get but if it’s good, it can be spectacular. But there are lots of photos posted on the web that are just plain bad. A fuzzy brown spot, a blurry object in the sky, or some version of those are easy to find. Why post these? There are lots of good royalty-free, public domain photos that can be found on the web. Those are what I use for these blogs. Use the expertise of someone who knows how to take photos – don’t just post your photos because you took them, post them if they are good.

Why do I blog? It keeps my mind active; it prods me to do research so that I can pass on interesting information with the knowledge that it is factual and up to date. And hopefully I am adding a little enjoyment to the lives of those who like birds.

 

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