The social media age seems to be spawning a culture that seeks instant gratification for everything. An "I want to know and I want to know NOW," approach, and birds and birding are certainly no exception.
I get it. I really do. And I suppose that if Facebook and all this "easy as can be" technology had been around when I first started birding, I'd have been tempted to utilize it to answer all my ID questions too. But, I don't think so.
My favorite thing about birding is spending time with birds. Rather than grabbing a quick photo and dashing off to ask for help on Facebook with the ID, I encourage people to take some time to study and get to know the birds. Spend some time watching even after you've gotten the photo. Watch their behavior, listen to their songs and call notes, and don't stop watching - even as they fly away.
It's great to get an instant answer and pin a name on a bird. But if you stop there, you miss out on the best things about birds. And you'll never get to know them well enough to say, "There goes a Northern Flicker!" -- even when all you get is a quick flash of tail as it disappears out of sight.
Today I am trying something new for The Birding Project. I logged on Facebook and saw a post from Kimberly which perfectly summarized the types of birding wisdom I'm striving to gather and share with people. With her permission, I want to share her thoughts with a wider sphere of people, helping spread a positive conservation message. I met Kimberly at The Biggest Week in American Birding this past May, and although we didn't get a chance to interview, we did chat briefly about trying to connect in the future. She's doing fantastic work, and I'd love to collaborate with her on a future project blending education and conservation with young people!