Into Birds and Ornithology?
Ornithology is a branch of Zoology that is concerned with the study of birds. The science has a long history and has helped develop several key concepts in evolution, behaviour and ecology. Early ornithology was principally concerned with descriptions of species, but today ornithologists use a wide range of tools in the laboratory and out in the field in order to gain specific answers for defining various species and uncovering evolutionary theories. Bird watching is not a new science since many cave drawings have been found depicting birds and bones of 80 different species have been uncovered from the Stone Age. With the invention of telescopes and binoculars bird watching became popular in the mid 1800s and the first guides to identifying birds started to appear. Organisations were started and began to increase in numbers with more members joining, the most notable being the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. There are to date over 10,000 different species of birds and recently many species have been placed under protection since numbers have declined due to environmental issues, lack of habitat and egg collecting, which is now illegal for endangered birds. The sites listed below are all dedicated to birds and provide information for amateur bird watchers, professional ornithologists and the general public alike. It is a fascinating subject and here are ten of the best sites that the Internet has to offer.
1. Fatbirder.com – http://www.fatbirder.com/
Fatbirder.com is the result of a lifelong passion of the site’s owner. His enthusiasm for ‘twitching’ comes across in the wonderful articles that can be found with beautiful illustrations, photographs and facts. Each continent can be individually selected to reveal the birds pertaining to it and news in the bird world is highlighted along with a library with recommended books to read. A section on bird families and ornithology gives information on all species and a further section can be found for equipment and supplies. A fun section contains birding jokes and quizzes and bird songs and sounds can also be heard in podcasts.
2. RSPB – http://www.rspb.org.uk/
This is the official site for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds which is a charitable organisation dedicated to bird conservation. Illustrated articles and videos give facts and information for helping birds, identifying them and protecting their habitats along with facts and tips for bird watching. Advice is given for tracking birds and filming them and there is an online shop for buying gifts, equipment, bird food and bird products. The site also gives information for the farming community and nature lovers in general and full details of how to subscribe and donate to this wonderful charity are given on the site.
3. 10,000 Birds – http://10000birds.com/
The site is named after the number of types of birds in the world and the aim of the site is to list all of them. There are videos to view and articles to read from categories such as birding, trips, conservation, inspiration, politics, reviews and destinations with special sections for news and sports. There is a blog for commenting and posting with contributions from expert and amateur twitchers alike. Graphic photos demonstrate the habitat and lifestyles of birds around the world and signing up to the site is recommended.
4. Birds of Britain – http://www.birdsofbritain.co.uk/
This site is dedicated to the birds of Britain as the name suggests with over 450 pages which are changed monthly. There is an A-Z bird guide with articles and photographs in categories such as features, news and reserves as well as a gallery. You can look for a bird watching club local to your area and read about available bird watching trips that can be taken all around the world. There is a monthly prize for guessing the mystery bird and an online shop to purchase books, bird food and accessories.
5. Birdwatch – http://www.birdwatch.co.uk/
This is the website for the magazine and the current edition is available to view along with back issues. The latest news, articles and reviews on birds can be read and there is a gallery of beautiful bird photographs from all over the world. Registering to the site is needed to comment on threads and posts in the forum and the blog and there are awards and prize-winning competitions to enter. The site has an online shop for buying bird books and DVDs with some special offers available at the moment and a further section called ‘get involved’ gives details of bird watching clubs and events.
6. Surfbirds.com – http://www.surfbirds.com/
Surfbirds was started by a group of birding friends which has now grown into a popular international site for bird lovers. There are photo albums, wallpapers, videos and podcasts of birds and interesting articles of trip reports and bird sightings. Further hints and tips can be found in the blog and the forum, but signing up is required to comment on the threads. Birding features and sketches can also be found and there is a link to the surfbird shop on the site recommending bird books from Amazon.
7. Birdguides.com – http://www.birdguides.com/sites/default.asp?a=7
Birdguides.com is a complete list of birding sites throughout the UK. Sites can be browsed by town with pictures available to view after signing up to the site. The latest listings and sightings are advertised and events and news can be found on the notice-board. Help, support and useful links are available and there is an e-store to hear and download all bird sounds and tunes.
8. Conure Crazy – http://s11.zetaboards.com/Conure_Crazy/index/
Conure Crazy is a popular forum for bird lovers all over the world. Once you join the community you can access all the member forums and comment on the threads and topics. Categories in the forums include conure species, links, pets, health and breeding and there is a lobby for games, jokes and general bird chit chat. There is a notice board which gives you all the latest news and information and there is also a facility to search for other members online.
9. Birding.com – www.birding.com
This is a small site and very surprisingly so since the information on birds is vast. There are bird watching videos, bird hotspots, equipment, organisations, fact-sheets, photos and songs as well as a great section on ornithology and bird identification. Interesting articles and information can be found for bird beginners and useful links lead to ‘amazing bird records’ and other sites.
10. Bird Sites – http://www.birdsites.net/
This is a directory of bird sites which lists all bird species including wild and pet varieties. You can find bird breeders, birds for sale, supplies, birding holidays, health, organisations, directories, forums, bird webcams, magazines and much more. The site has a wealth of information for twitchers with many links to other bird sites and bird art and crafts plus you can apply to add your site to the index.