This Site

Bird watching as a hobby offers a lot of interesting dimensions one can pursue. It is exacting, requiring extensive practice and skill building. It can provide exercise and social interaction with other birders. It can support scientific efforts to better understand birds and their roles as ecological health indicators. It can offer measurable achievement through life-listing and the search for unusual species. In other words, it can be pretty much what you want it to be.

I participate in most of these dimensions. Being in the field, seeing birds and their behaviors is the best part for me. But if I can do it in a way that yields some scientific value beyond my ephemeral personal observations, I always feel better about the use of time and resources. As a result, I use eBird, I participate in Christmas Bird Counts and other survey activities, and have even done MAPS banding.

However, the world probably does not need another personal birding site, given the quality and quantity that now exist. It is actually very humbling (at least to me) to see the depth of amateur expertise and photographic excellence that so many birders bring to the hobby. This is really a golden age for birding, though sadly not so much for the birds. In that context, my initial intent for this site is not to stake my claim to birding glory. Rather I have some specific, limited objectives.

The first is some Web technology experimentation. Nothing profound, but I have some tools with which I am trying to develop familiarity. For example, at the moment the Web site is using:

These tools form the basis of some birding resources that I hope might be of interest to Virginia birders.

The other objective is possibly even more prosaic than dabbling in Web technologies. As I see unusual birds, take bad pictures of them, and then report them to the VA-Birds email list or to eBird, I find that I need to add pictures to the descriptions to substantiate the sightings. This site gives me a location to host those images, so I can link to them in posts and on eBird.