The coronavirus pandemic may be keeping birdwatchers off the jungle trails, but many are continuing to look for their feathered friends – doing real time birdwatching right from the comfort of living room
Mr Nick Lund started the Google Street View Birding group on Facebook, which now has more than 4,000 members around the world.
There were plenty of crazy birders who scoured the globe and identified more than 1,100 different species of birds. Birding over the Internet offers many possibilities, including the chance to see birds one has never seen before.
That’s a lots of birds!
Avid birdwatchers may argue that such virtual sightings do not count as “lifers” – sightings of a species one has never seen before.
However a reporter managed to spot a red-footed booby for the first time on the Galapagos Islands’ Isla Genovesa. So it does count!
Birding over Google Street View may be more comfortable than swatting bugs while trekking through vegetation. But it is not always easier.
However, the lack of resolution in most of the images makes seeing and identifying tiny birds difficult, said Mr Lund.
Yet this has also brought the global birding community closer. There are lots of discussions on posts where the bird is not easily identifiable.
You get people whose expertise lies in different regions helping to identify a mystery bird. That’s part of the birding experience too.
The birdwatchers in the group have compiled a species list of more than 1,200 birds on a spreadsheet.
The entries are sorted according to the common and scientific names of the birds, the coordinates where they were found, as well as the names of the people who spotted them.
Real Time Birdwatching Tip
Scan around in Street View, looking closely at tiny blobs on telephone wires or by the roadside, and see what you can find.
The other way is to pick an exotic location and scan there, using reports from eBird.org to see what birds have been seen in that area in the past.MR NICK LUND, who started the Google Street View Birding group on Facebook.
The identities of the birds are fact-checked by the other members of the group, much like the peer review process of most scientific studies.
Identification is not always clear-cut as on Google Street View, the animals can appear blurry and indistinct.
One useful tip you can use is scan around in Street View, looking closely at tiny blobs on telephone wires or by the roadside, and see what you can find.
The other way is to pick an exotic location and scan there. By using reports from eBird.org, you can identify what birds have been seen in that area in the past.
This is definitely better than a computer game as the birds are real!
Below is a short video on how you can use Google Street View.