Feb 23 2008

My, how things have changed

Published by at 12:42 pm under Musings & News

Computer (from Macomb County Library website, Macomb County, Michigan)A friend and I were musing about the late 1980′s.  My goodness, how birding has changed in the last twenty years! 

Back then binoculars, a field guide and the rare bird hotline were our suite of tools.  I had a computer then (it’s my job) but Internet connections were so expensive that the software company I worked for didn’t have one.

Communication used to take a while.  A rare bird could come and go and only one person would ever know it was there.  If you wanted to tell someone, you had to drive to the nearest pay phone.  Now most birders have cell phones and those who search for rarities are in constant touch.

Other than my binoculars, the Internet is my favorite birding tool.  Email lists have replaced the telephone hotlines and Google enhances our field guides with easy access to bird identification websites. 

It is so easy to find information on the Internet that you hardly have to own a book about birds, though I am such a book lover I still want to own them all.  

Photography has changed birding dramatically.  Before the days of affordable digital cameras, it was expensive to develop film, it took an expert to edit the results and sharp details could only be achieved with high-powered lenses.  Digital photography has changed all that. Photo sharing websites give everyone access to thousands of excellent pictures. 

In the midst of all this change there is one constant:  friends.  The Internet has helped this too.  Online I’ve met birders from around the state and around the world.  At birding hotspots we meet in person, happy to put a face to the names we know so well. 

It is so satisfying to share a bird moment with friends – our sightings and knowledge, disappointments and joys.  That’s why I enjoy writing this blog.

All in all I think birding has improved considerably.

One response so far

One Response to “My, how things have changed”

  1. Vernon 25 Feb 2008 at 3:11 am

    For years I was pretty much a lone birder. Not really by choice, but we moved around a lot and I never really got to know birders in an area. With the internet everything has changed. Just as an example, when I moved to Newville PA I was interested in getting involved with a local CBC. I found out who the compiler was online and contacted him. As it turns out he only lives a mile away, but I probably wouldn’t of found him unless I went online.

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