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All About Birds Wins a Webby!

By Hugh Powell
Webby award logo

I was standing in the Lab parking lot looking at a Rose-breasted Grosbeak when I got a text message from Alex, our lead Web designer. All it said was “We won a Webby!

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And that was how I found out, surrounded by spring birds and feeling as exuberant as the black, white, and pink bird singing its heart out 35 feet above me.

Nine months ago Alex and I had hemmed and hawed over our application form to the vaunted Webby Awards. Nearly 10,000 sites enter each year, and a 650-person judging academy pores over them to select just five finalists in each of about 70 categories.

So when the news came, three weeks ago, that we had made even that initial cut, it was more than we had hoped for. We pulled out all the stops as we begged bird watchers on our Web site, on Facebook and Twitter, in person and over the phone, to vote for us for the “People’s Voice” award—but our rival Epicurious had more foodie fans than we did birders, and despite everyone’s efforts, by the end of two weeks we feared we wouldn’t be able to catch them.

Fortunately the main award is decided by judges, so it’s less influenced by simple site traffic—AND WE WON!

We see it as a testament not just to the site design and content that we put so much time into in last year’s redesign—but also to the innate marvelousness of birds. It’s their ability to capture people’s imagination, amaze their senses, and arouse their curiosity—even people whose day job revolves more around JavaScript manuals than Sibley guides. We bird watchers have known this for years, and now the rest of the world is coming along.

As a final note, we tip our hat to all the members of Birdshare, Project FeederWatch, and the Great Backyard Bird Count who contributed photos to be used on the site. Our site simply couldn’t look the way it looks, or provide the information it does, without your contributions of time, skill, creativity, and generosity.

So thank you to all our users—the Webby is part yours! Now let’s all celebrate by getting back outside and going birding.

Official press release is here. Official Webby announcement of winners is here.

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American Kestrel by Blair Dudeck / Macaulay Library