Birding can be pretty solitary in the old days, but now it brings people together

How did you get started using eBird? 

I had no interest in birds whatsoever; I never birded until eBird. I saw a Red-tailed Hawk outside of my office. I figured out there's a place you could enter your bird sightings. At that point I think there were 3 or 4 people in a 3 million person county using eBird. I could tell because I had a third of the records. It's going to be a lot more useful if other people can use it too. I taught classes, gave talks, and little by little we started building it. There was some controversy at first, it took a while for people to get used to it and convert. It's a good thing, and a way for instantaneous sharing of knowledge. 

Anything else you'd like to add? 

Much of birding is hearing. A few weeks ago I started a program taking blind people from The Lighthouse bird listening. It was cool, we had 3 sighted bird guides and 8 participants. We pointed out that so much of birding is listening. It was a real opportunity for them, because they don't go in the woods much. I'd love to make that a regular program.

This is a great idea! Who wants to partner with me and get more blind people get outside and enjoy birds? I'd love to help coordinate and grow this program, nationwide! If any birders are reading this, contact me to figure out how to offer bird walks in your city for the blind and bring opportunities for more people to engage with birds.