So here we are, we bird bloggers, four years after the inaugural I and the Bird (well, four years and one month…we seem to have forgotten to celebrate on time). Four years is a long time in the real world: in the blogosphere it is an eternity! Like many of the folks who contributed a post to this I and the Bird I wasn’t even blogging four years ago (heck, I had pretty much just started birding!). Nonetheless, this I and the Bird will serve as a portal back in time four years, to 2005, a more less innocent era, when George W Bush was still in the White House, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated New Orleans, the London subways were bombed, a tsunami struck the Indian Ocean, and the pope died. While all of those stories were and are important what we will be focusing on is the state of the birding (and bird blogging) world back in 2005, a far less depressing and far more relevant topic. So sit back, relax, and enjoy this visit to the world of birding, 2005!
We will start I and the Bird #106 in Australia because all too often the land down under does not get the attention that it deserves, especially considering the excellent quality of Australian bird blogs. Duncan of Ben Cruachan-Natural History is our first submitter, and, not coincidentally, he also submitted this post to the very first I and the Bird (and that post only still exists because Duncan was savvy enough to back up his blog, which is why when a database server crashed he was able to restore it!). Of course, way back in 2005 the name of his blog was Ben Cruachan Blog and he didn’t have many images on the blog because scanning birds directly onto the internet (that’s the way it was done back then, or so I am told) was hard work, but, still, to be a bird blogger for as long as he has been is amazing! His post this time is a grab-bag of well-captioned photos that includes two shots of Superb Fairy-wrens which are worth the visit on their own. Oh, and by the way, Duncan also hosted one of my all time favorite I and the Birds, #38.
Our second submitter is also from the land of kangaroos and Foster’s beer but she is much more recent addition to the bird-blogosphere. Susan from The Life of a Bird Tour Leader has been bird blogging for just one month but from the quality of photos in her submission about a visit to Sabah, Borneo, one would think that she had been doing this for much, much, longer! What was happening in the bird world in Borneo in 2005? Well, National Geographic reported on efforts to figure out how to improve breeding success in captive Bulwer’s Pheasants by observing their behavior in the wild in Borneo: turns out that the birds like following bearded pigs!
More Australians (Sarah and Andrew) write the next blog, but for the submitted blog post we’ll make our way to India, where Andrew from Listening Earth Blog shares a picture and recording of what he considers the bird with the most beautiful song, the mellifluous Malabar Whistling Thrush. Now, as a guy from the northeastern United States I would argue that Hermit and Wood Thrushes have songs that are at least as nice but I certainly enjoyed listening to the lush recording anyway! Listening Earth Blog certainly hasn’t been around since 2005, but a search in the archives uncovered an origin story worth reading: check it out!
Another post from India follows our previous post, but this one isn’t written by Australians. Ambika of Madras Wanderings has a nesting Red-vented Bulbul to share with the I and the Bird audience. Though Ambika has not been bird blogging since 2005 don’t worry, I dug up some great bird news from India in 2005. It seems that organizers of Aero India 2005 were afraid that kites and other birds might crash into planes, which would have been a real downer on the festivities. To prevent this organizers came up with some unique ways to keep kites away from the air show.
Y C Wee, host of I and the Bird #89, certainly does not need an introduction to those who regularly gather ’round for I and the Bird. Sure, we have left Australia behind for good but we have merely traveled across most of Asia from India to get to Singapore, where the Bird Ecology Study Group calls home. As always, Y C has a heck of a post, musing on the emotional attachment that can grow between the watchers and the watched, or, as we would put it, the birders and the birds. Y C did not contribute a blog post to the first I and the Bird but he can be forgiven for that considering that July of 2005 was, coincidentally, when his blog was born! You can read his first ever blog post here.
From Singapore to Sri Lanka, where we join Amila of Gallicissa, host of I and the Bird #75, in examining what the cat dragged in. This post serves as a good a time as any to remind everyone who has a pet cat to keep it indoors. In just the United States cats kill over one billion birds a year, which means a total of four billion birds killed by cats since I and the Bird had its inaugural edition. When you take the numbers world-wide, well, you can imagine the carnage! For more information please go to the American Bird Conservancy’s Cats Indoors! campaign.
From Asia we’ll make a big jump to, well, I guess England, where Alan has Dusted Off Bins and is birding. Dusted Off Bins is about a year and a half old, or a bit less than half as old as I and the Bird is. Despite the relative youthfulness of his blog the post Alan submitted is thoughtful, well-written, and compares Englishmen to starlings digging in the trash! Now that’s good bird-blogging! And, to provide the historical context that everyone is craving, Alan’s home turf, Northumberland, had its first-ever records of Chimney Swift and Franklin’s Gull in 200 (information gleaned from his local bird club, of which Alan is a proud member).
Another European bird blog is up next. Though Bell Tower Birding was originally started in the United States in December of 2006, Jochen, host of I and the Bird #47, has since moved back to Germany, depriving the United States of one of our most original voices but immensely enriching Germany in terms of bird blogging. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on who you ask) the wonders of the world wide web allow us Americans and everyone else to continue to read Jochen’s mad scribblings, especially when his mad scribblings are about, well, his mad scribblings, as in the post he submitted. In researching what was happening in Germany in 2005 for this I and the Bird the most interesting item I discovered was that if you were birding in a German public park four years ago you were likely to come across poop with a flag in it. Fortunately, the need for the flags has since gone away.
We also have an American bird blogger, Will of The Nightjar, host of I and the Bird #58, who decided that his submission this month would be about birds in Europe, or, more specifically, in Ireland. His post on swift vagrancy in Ireland and other parts of Europe is fascinating, and it also obviates my need for a historical link because he provides historical information from 2005 in his post! Will gets a
Here in the United States we have a first-time I and the Bird submitter, Lee of Lee’s Birdwatching Adventures Plus. Lee has been bird blogging for about a year and a half and has used that time to write a quite extensive series on the birds of the bible, from which comes her contribution on pelicans. Interestingly enough, it was in 2005 that a book calling itself Birder’s Bible came onto the market. It proved to be nowhere near as popular as I and the Bird or the bible that Lee references.
We also have a Texan bird blogger, Dave of DDolan New Birder, who has been bird blogging for just over a year now (and only birding for a little bit longer than that). His contribution is all about the wood-warblers he spotted this year at High Island, a birding mecca in Texas that I would love to visit. Back in 2005 Texas got its first confirmed state records of Streak-backed Oriole and Social Flycatcher, which I read about in the Texas Bird Records Committee Report for 2005.
A second Texan is our next contributor. Jason of xenogere has an excellently photographed competition between a Snowy Egret and a Little Blue Heron for a fishing spot. Now because some Texas bird news from 2005 is already included above I decided to search for news about herons from 2005 to share. I tried hard but I was diverted by booze because apparently the 2005 vintage of Heron Pinot Noir is quite delicious and cheap too!
Fortified with a nice glass bottle of wine, I am ready to continue I and the Bird’s fourth anniversary!
Sticking to the southern United States, our next contributor, Karen of Rurality, had a Northern Bobwhite come to visit. Now Karen has been blogging for six months longer than I and the Bird has been in existence but somehow missed submitting to the very first I and the Bird. I am sure it must have been some kind of bureaucratic oversight and have taken the liberty of going back into the archives of Rurality and finding a post from the proper time frame that fits I and the Bird to share with you now: Beauty and the Beast it is!
As far south and east as we can go in the United States and we arrive in Florida, where LoraKim, who is making her first submission to I and the Bird, and who blogs on Liberating Wings, which has been around since October of last year, is based. Her submission, which is basically thought riffs on Jonathan Rosen’s Life of Skies – Birding at the End of Nature, is as thought-provoking a post as one would expect from a Unitarian Universalist minister who also is a D.V.M. Birding history from Florida in 2005? How about the completion of the Great Florida Birding Trail (which is a great spot to begin planning your birding trip to Florida)?
Not too far north of Florida is North Carolina, where Nate of The Drinking Bird, and host of I and the Bird #86, another of my favorites, spends his time. His submission is all about the, um, mentally challenged learning to digiscope. Apparently, even Nate can learn to take great pictures (I kid I kid). And though it is a bit beyond the age of most of the history we are learning about here I found it fascinating that it wasn’t until 1999 that digiscoping was invented.
Jumping out west to Colorado we come to Connie, host of I and the Bird #95, and, more importantly, the brains behind Birds O’ the Morning. Connie actually wrote a post about a slog for birds during her dream trip to Costa Rica, part of her prize for being 2008 WildBird Birder of the Year. Connie has been blogging since 2008 (maybe part of the reason she was birder of the year), so I had to turn elsewhere for birding history from 2005. And though I couldn’t find the 2005 Wildbird Birder of the Year I did find the 2005 winners of the Wildbird photo contest and, well, there are some nice shots there!
Another Coloradon (if that is what you call a person from Colorado) submitted a post to this I and the Bird, but Dave A, of the aptly named DaveA’s Birding Blog, stayed put in Colorado to get his content. In fact, he didn’t deviate from his normal routine: he just found a hawk while getting his car fixed and got some pictures and learned something new. This is always promising for new bird blogger (finding material in the everyday encounter), and Dave A certainly fits the mold there, having started blogging in December of last year. But what birding news came out of Colorado in 2005? Well, the ABA’s Institute for Field Ecology had a class and the report from it made me drool. Get me to Colorado!
Further west is another place I would love to visit, northern California, home to Larry, host of I and the Bird #94, and the blogger behind The Birder’s Report, which has been going strong since September of 2007. Larry makes this east coast birder jealous with his submission, which documents with words and sweet photos some of the young birds in his backyard. The history of California birding is fascinating and tons of it is gathered at this site, though it doesn’t cover 2005 this material first appeared online in 2005, so I feel it should be included.
Back east to Massachusetts where Chris from Picus Blog, the host of the most recent I and the Bird calls home. He didn’t write about biding in Massachusetts though; he wrote about birding in Maine (why did so many of you have to travel for this I and the Bird?). Though it is not news from Massachusetts, it was in 2005 that the rediscovery of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker hit the news in a big way, news that must have warmed the hearts of anyone who has a blog named for a genus of woodpecker!
A Rochester, New York bird blogger is next, Laura from Birds, Words, & Websites. Her submission, about birding the eastern shore of Virginia, is the first of a three-part series. While participants in I and the Bird can only submit one post each, I do heartily encourage those clicking through to check out all three segments. While Laura’s blog has been in existence only since March of this year there was momentous news in New York’s birding scene back in 2005 (besides the fact that I started birding): the second-ever, five-year, Breeding Bird Atlas project finished up, a project whose fruits can now be appreciated by all.
A bit further south, but still in the east of the United States is John of A DC Birding Blog. Though he is now based in New Jersey he is continuing his long tradition of bird-blogging: in fact, he was one of the contributors to the original I and the Bird and he hosted I and the Bird #5 and I and the Bird #57! His post for this I and the Bird is about Cerulean Warblers returning year after year to the same winter habitat, pretty fascinating stuff.
Continuing further south, and continuing with the theme of folks submitting posts about travels away from where they are based, is The Ridger from The Greenbelt, normally based in Maryland. Her travels took her to the Pacific Northwest and got her some birds that she does not normally see. The Greenbelt, which has been around since April of 2006 as a blog, hosted I and the Bird #63, and fine edition that was. And if you want to know what was going on in the birding scene in Maryland back in 2005, here is a link to the August 2005 issue of Chip Notes, the newsletter of the Baltimore Bird Club.
Moving west from Maryland we eventually arrive in Tennessee, the home of Vickie of Vickie Henderson Art, host of I and the Bird #93, and artist-extraordinaire. Her submission, Posture is Everything, looks at Whooping Cranes threat-posturing, and shares a fascinating video from Operation Migration. Our history from 2005 here will be in PDF format, so if your Adobe isn’t updated please skip this link, Operation Migration’s 2005-06 Annual Report (the Whooping Cranes did well that year).
Going north from Tennessee we can skip right over Kentucky (a bird blog black hole?) and land in Whipple, Ohio, home of Bill of Bill of the Birds, who, despite bird blogging for almost as long as I and the Bird has existed, has never hosted an I and the Bird (insert shocked look here)! Bill, of course, did not submit a post about the birds in Whipple, but instead shared a jealousy-inspiring post about the birds he saw eating toast in Trinidad (well, it’s about more than that but once one sees something about birds eating toast it is hard to get that out of one’s head). Just for this one submission we will skip the history portion of this I and the Bird and instead say that it looks like this year’s Midwest Birding Symposium is going to be huge! If you go you will most likely see birding history in the making…
Going north and west of Ohio one eventually arrives in Minnesota, the land of lakes, loons, and great science bloggers. Greg of Greg Laden’s Blog, host of I and the Bird #48 and I and the Bird #62 shares a post on loon behavior in which he questions whether loons actually use the broken-wing display to lead predators away from the nest. Interestingly, it seems that the biggest bit of birding news to come out of Minnesota in 2005 was that our previous submitter, Bill of Bill of the Birds, released a book, Minnesota Bird Watching: A Year-Round Guide.
Moving north to Manitoba, Canada, we get to enjoy the relatively new blog, Christian Artuso: Birds, Wildlife, written by, who else, Christian. He has a marvelous series of photos of Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers at the nest which made me want to go out into the woods to see if I could top his shots. Back in 2005 The Birds of Manitoba was published, and is available from Nature Manitoba, which seems to be quite the site for all things bird-related in Manitoba.
Our only other Canadian submitter is Clare, host of I and the Bird #11 and I and the Bird #71, which, if I am not mistaken, is the longest time that has gone between hostings. Clare, who writes The House & Other Arctic Musings, shares a post about plover identification problems that I am sure the vast majority of listing North American birders would love to have. The history here? Clare was a submitter to the first I and the Bird, with a post about Qarsauq.
Our final submitter, David of Search and Serendipity, submitted a post about a topic near and dear to we three 10,000 Birds bloggers. David has been blogging since December of 2004 and though he did not submit to the very first I and the Bird he did host I and the Bird #12 and I and the Bird #60. No specific history here, just David’s first blog post, from way back, which might be the best debut bird blog post out there…
And the three latecomers, who I would like to do more justice to but am just too exhausted after over 3,000 words already! Gunnar, Gwen, and Susannah, I am sorry I had to move the deadline up…
The next I and the Bird will be hosted by Liza Lee Miller. Get submissions to her at lizaleemiller AT gmail DOT com or to Mike at mike AT 10000birds DOT com.