Back on November 10th, I put up a post called "Help Wanted: Bird IDs". It was a shout out, a cry for help in identifying nine birds that I had seen and photographed (in some cases, somewhat badly photographed) in my yard in late summer and early fall.
Besides the post hoping to attract responses from loyal blog readers, I also sent the link out (twice) to the Hudson-Mohawk Bird Club through their Yahoo Group. I got a number of good responses and we were able to pin down four birds (which added 3 to my 2008 list). Thank you! But I still have 5 birds that haven't been confirmed.
Today, I read a post on David Sibley's blog entitled "How many rare birds did we miss before the internet?" In the post, Mr. Sibley talks about how the internet along with digital photography has increased the likelihood that rare birds can be identified. It takes a chain of events to make it happen, and that chain must not be broken.
Other points he makes is that the person who sees the bird must take a photo of it and then "go to the effort and the risk of showing the photos to other birders to try to identify it". Further, if you hit a wall, you had to "continue pushing the pictures out on the internet".
What sage advice! Although the birds I'm trying to identify are not "rare" birds, they were different from the everyday visitors in my yard. Were they life birds? or yard birds? or first-of-2008 birds? I didn't know. Some, I had an idea of. Others, not a clue. And the photos were admittedly poorer than average. But I put them out there anyway, with a request for help.
So, in the spirit of David Sibley, I will put it out there again. If you're up for a challenge, take a look at the post "Help Wanted: Bird IDs" and let your voice be heard. Thanks in advance, and thanks to David Sibley for the inspiration.