Birder's Guide

NOV 2018

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

Issue link: http://bg.aba.org/i/1052444

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n an idle moment the other day, I was perusing the eBird user profile of a well- known field ornithologist. We're talking about somebody of considerable renown, justly admired for her or his birderly aptitude. The per- son in question has submitted more than 10,000 complete eBird checklists, invariably accompa- nied by all-important natural history notes in the "comments" field up top. And this individual has annotated her or his checklists with photos of hundreds of bird species. And a grand total of zero (0) audio recordings. Why is that? Perhaps for the simple reason that she or he isn't an aural birder? Nope, this person is a brilliant "earbirder", able to ID warblers by their chip notes and ducks by their wing whis- tles. Rather, I think it's because of the perception, very widespread in the birding community, that recording and uploading birdsong is, for want of a better word, hard. Recording birdsong conjures images of some tech-savvy Cornell Lab technician, ca. 1950, schlepping around gear the size of a refrigerator. A large refrigerator. As to uploading a sound file to the internet, you might as well ask the user to prove the Riemann hypothesis while you're at it. Folks, it doesn't have to be that way. It shouldn't be that way. It isn't that way. Making and sharing audio recordings is a piece of cake. It's as easy, lit- erally, as pressing a button on your smartphone. ■ The author is making a recording of a Lark Sparrow. He soon thereafter edited the recording on his laptop and uploaded the soundfile to the internet. In this article, we review the basics of creating sound recordings—with nothing more than a smartphone, free editing software, and popular websites like eBird and Xeno-Canto. Las Animas County, Colorado; May 24, 2014. Photo by © Chris Pague. 9 November 2018 | Birder's Guide to Gear Ted Floyd Boulder County, Colorado tfloyd@aba.org I

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