Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Technology and Birding

Nicholas Lund, in an online Slate post (The High-Tech Future of Staring at Birds in the Woods), overviews wonderfully in both serious and tongue-in-cheek tones the evolution of birding field guides. Have you noticed the recent published offerings, e.g.The Warbler Guide and The Crossley ID Guide: Raptors. Wow...great visuals, incredible pieces of work. Both have taken field guides to a new level thanks to technology, specifically digital cameras.
My real concern, as strange as this may sound is, the 'language of birding'. The language I refer to is loosely based on the Peterson identification system of how big, what shape, what behavior, and what field marks? Birding (really, all kinds of wildlife watching) it seems is really about the underlying process and joy of learning.
Nicholas Lund thinks there are no worries:..."the actual business of birding remains between you, the bird, and your binoculars. That is until our Google Glass can ID birds on the wing or our phones can scan a molted feather and report the subspecies. I give it a year." Great take, isn't it? Now find something great...digitally or otherwise :-)
Digital photo (what else?) of Steller's Jay