An unmanageable set of bookmarks was the result of these many Internet searches. I learned web site design mostly for fun, and developed a web site for my company. I thoroughly enjoyed the process of developing our web site, and it became sort of a hobby, so when the company site was finished, and I was looking around for more web site design projects, I decided to "organize" my birding location bookmarks in HTML. This led to organizing the bookmarks by state/province.
It became obvious there were many gaps. As it slowly became a labour of love... I was challenged to fill in the gaps so all states and provinces were covered (justifying the masses of time this project was taking by telling myself I couldn't guess where I might be going next...). A personal vacation to see family in England led to the UK pages, a Caribbean cruise triggered the Caribbean section, and two free tickets from Delta Airlines led to the creation of the Central American section. The travel plans of many people asking questions on the rec. birds newsgroup resulted in a curiosity review of South American site descriptions on the WWW. By this time, I had a skeletal "Western Hemisphere" birding location web site.
And, it was visually very boring! By the time the mess was getting fairly complete, I was thinking of sharing all this stuff on my hard drive with others - and publishing the whole thing on the WWW. I didn't want to use frames since that restricted access to individuals with frames-supporting browsers. Bird pictures seemed the appropriate response... but, how to choose? State/provincial/national birds (and the associated challenge to identify them by the picture) seemed the best route.
Finding the appropriate bird pictures took many more hours. Some bird pictures were relatively easy, but, when seven different states call the Northern Cardinal their state bird, finding seven different pictures can be a challenge! Have you ever tried to find a picture of a lark bunting on the web (thank you, Colorado!) or other relatively uncommon birds? How about trying to find a picture of a really uncommon bird, like the bare-throated bell-bird (national bird of Paraguay). Not to mention negotiating French, Spanish and Portuguese web sites trying to identify "l'oiseau nationale", and "aves officiale" when you are almost totally unilingual. Although a few (a very few) of the pictures were personally taken, permission to use most of them was obtained from the photographer. Thank you to all who actually took the photos!
As I searched for Western Hemisphere locations,
kept tripping over excellent sites for other areas in the world, and
started storing them on a page I called "other". Pretty soon, they grew
so much that I set up a whole new set of pages, one for each continent,
and the little project on organizing my bookmarks had turned into a world-wide
guide on where to find birds!
But what about birders who were going to places that weren't near to the places identified on the "top birding places" lists? Sometimes, if your family lives in Many Berries, Alberta (yes, there really is such a place - I've been there!), or you happen to be going to French Guiana, you still want to go birding!!!
So, the question became where to find information about birding locations in "non-best" locations? This got me into print bird-finding guides that addressed the best locations within each province/state/country - sites which were still very good for that area (with regard to the visibility of birds or the number of species represented), but didn't make the publicly available "best" lists. These sites are still good, but they rank in the "less than 100 best" category. I also reviewed the itineraries of birding tour companies for those countries for which I couldn't find (or afford) a detailed print guide. This was the most time consuming aspect of developing this website. Not only did every country/state/province require access to a good print birding location guide, or bird tour, every area added many new birding locations that weren't covered in any of the "birding" or other sites already found! For countries where I was able to obtain "best" lists, (USA/Canada and South America) the relevant page provides a link to explain the icons and where information was obtained. Please let me know if any lists of "best sites" exist for other countries or continents.
The whole mess was mounted on the WWW in April, 1998. The "thank you" notes I started getting made the effort worthwhile, but visitors had other suggestions too. In response, I started adding information on local events, checklists, rare bird hot lines, eco-lodges, links to maps and endemic/speciality birds information. Travel advisory links for the more dangerous places in the world are updated every month or two. Still to come is information on climate/best birding times and links to print resources/books for each area.
Now, in February 2001, about 2,000 birders per day are checking in, with a cumulative total of nearly 300,000 visitors (distinct hosts served), not counting repeat visitors. Over 130,000 pages per month are being downloaded! My supposition that this information might be interesting to other birders has certainly been proved accurate!
Please help me keep this site current...
links are available for every country/state/province section. Or, send e-mail to
I hope you enjoy this web site and find it useful. I has caused me to redefine the family motto as:
One thing leads to another!