Reading You Loud and Clear

By Hugh Powell
help us get our blog started tree swallow
Tree Swallows. Photo by David Brown/CLO; hi-def video from this and other nests is here.

Wow. Forty-two comments – and counting – on our first post. You’re piping up with ideas like a nest full of Tree Swallow babies (Internet-savvy ones, that is). Thank you!

We’re reading them all with interest: from your whimsical bird stories, to reminders not to leave you with a bunch of broken links, to our number one request so far: a bird ID tool (more on that topic next week).

An inspiring refrain is people’s eagerness to help. Readers such as Greg and Pamela offered their photos, while Stephanie and Iris would like to see ways to share volunteering options that let people get out in the woods themselves. As Miyoko commented, we’re working on a quick way for you to send us photos; in the longer term, we’re thinking of other ways to allow you to share your expertise and to help the Lab in our mission of interpreting and conserving biodiversity through birds.

Eventually, we can envision setting up ways for people not only to contribute photos, but to review the photos as well, tagging them with pertinent info such as identification, age, sex, and so on. We could then use those details to incorporate more pictures into the All About Birds species accounts, so that more plumages are represented (as Derry mentioned). Other ways we’d like to incorporate your contributions include making eBird data more visible, and providing places for you to talk directly to each other.

So for this round of comments, let us know how you’d like to contribute and interact online. What sorts of information do you most benefit from on this site – and what’s missing? Do you want us to give you ways to meet more bird watchers, find a particular kind of expertise, or chime in with your own knowledge? Do you use other websites that have features you’d like to see adapted to the world of birds? We’re all ears.

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