Monday, October 20, 2008

Bird-Watchers Keep Eye On The Web

(NAPSI)-It seems the Web is now for the birds--or at least the bird-watchers.

Many of the nearly 42 million Americans the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says watched birds around their homes last year are also flocking to social media sites on the Web to enjoy their hobby.

In fact, there are now more than 1 million bird pictures on the photo-sharing Web site, Flickr, and about 3,000 bird videos on YouTube. Additionally, site participants at eBird.org--a real-time online birding checklist from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society--have reported more than 21 million bird observations to date.

Similar online birding sites include birdcinema.com and geobirds.com. Birding blogs, such as www.bornagainbirdwatcher.com, www.hawkowlsnest.com, empids.blogspot.com and birdingcouple.blogspot.com are popular as well.

"There's no question the Internet is changing the way people take part in birding," says Wingscapes birding expert Stephen Kress, author of numerous birding books including "The Audubon Society Guide to Attracting Birds" and "The Audubon Backyard Birdwatch."

Getting Involved

So how can you take your birdwatching to the Web? A good first step is to create a "life list," a record of the species of birds you've sighted. Typically, the list is kept in a journal. Each entry notes the bird species, date, location and any notes you want to add. Now you can add a visual component to your life list and store the information on your computer.

Wingscapes BirdCam allows you to add digital images or videos of birds to your life lists. And you can get the shots you need while you're away. It has a built-in sensor that detects bird movement and triggers it to take photos or videos. You can choose the images and videos you like on your home computer, create a digital life list and e-mail the images to friends and family. You can also share the images on social media Web sites.

"It's much more fun to show off your bird sightings with a photo than to just describe them with words," says Kress. "The photos add validity to sightings. It shows you're identifying the birds correctly."

For more information, visit www.wingscapes.com.

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