anyone who enjoys wild birds is a birder! birding is for everyone!
October 19, 2021 10:03 AM   Subscribe

The Birdability Map is a crowdsourced map that describes in detail the accessibility features of birding locations all over the world. It is a work-in-progress, and anyone can contribute to it by submitting a Birdability Site Review.

This week is the second annual Birdability Week, highlighting ways to ensure the birding community and the outdoors are welcoming, inclusive, safe and accessible for everybody. You can see people's Twitter contributions by following the #ImABirder hashtag. [via]
posted by jessamyn (16 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
Oh I love this! I set up a bird feeder at my new house a few months ago and have been enjoying occasionally harassing my conservation-birder-thesis-on-rare-birds-in-the-Himalayas friend by harassing him about the difference between hairy and downy woodpeckers.
posted by sciatrix at 10:12 AM on October 19, 2021 [4 favorites]

Very cool. Immediately sent to all my birder pals!
posted by lazaruslong at 10:27 AM on October 19, 2021

My wife once mentioned how unique some of the maritime birds in our area are a few years back.

And so I got her a big book about identifying birds
I signed her up for a mailing list on birding in New England
I get her bird socks, bird posters
Pretty much any gift giving occasion has something, albeit small, that contributes to 'her' hobby
My hobby is pretending she's a card carrying uber-birder
If someone brings up anything about birds in any story, I mention her penchant for this

...she's mildly tickled by the whole thing, but boy have I run with it [I sent her this link before posting]
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 11:27 AM on October 19, 2021 [2 favorites]

Pretty cool. The geek in me wants to write an OSM query but I don't know if "bird-watching areas" are tagged...
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 11:34 AM on October 19, 2021 [1 favorite]

I don't know if "bird-watching areas" are tagged...

leisure=birding_site has a measly 15 hits, but leisure=bird_hide has a reasonably healthy 5408.
posted by zamboni at 12:00 PM on October 19, 2021 [1 favorite]

The geek in me wants to write an OSM query

Neat idea! I don't know what format their data is in but I bet a lot of the Birdability sites are a subset of the sites on Ebird (this could be wildly off tho) and there might be a way to combine those.
posted by jessamyn at 12:00 PM on October 19, 2021

This is right in my wheel... BIRD house. Thanks!
posted by Splunge at 12:37 PM on October 19, 2021 [1 favorite]

I went on a culinary mushroom hunt last week ... and one lady used a cane. She didn't get very far up and down the trails. I wondered (and still do) how that trip could have been made possible for her.

I'm glad to see that there's some effort being put toward creating a rich hub of information on accessible trails and areas. Probably has to do with the numbers of wealthy senior citizen birders in the birding population... but hopefully it will help disabled folks no matter what their financial situation.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 12:42 PM on October 19, 2021

One of the things that I really love about this project, and #ImABirder specifically is that it tries to talk about accessibility along a number of axes, including wheelchair users (the founder is definitely an older white presenting woman who uses a wheelchair), blind people (they use the term birder instead of bird watching because it's more inclusive), and people who are neuroatypical (one of the things you report with the site reviews is the presence of extraneous noises which can be tough for people with sensory issues looking to be somewhere quiet).

I'm on the Conservation Commission in my town and was looking at our town forests with an eye towards doing a site review and while our trails, which are mostly for mountain biking, aren't great for people with mobility impairments, we do have a number of kestrel boxes which are viewable from the parking area so are good for birding-by-car and worth mentioning.
posted by jessamyn at 1:49 PM on October 19, 2021 [6 favorites]

This is awesome. I see that many of the great, accessible parks in the neighboring suburban county are not on here at all, so I'm looking forward to helping them expand.

It turns out that if you fill a county entirely with unconnected culs de sac, strip malls, and no sidewalks, the public demands that you build parks that are pleasant places to (drive to and then) go for a walk. They all are fully accessible and have really nice bathrooms. It's a weird suburban nature paradise. I went to a new to me one last week that had a lovely loop through an older pine forest that had red headed woodpeckers and several huge natural meadow areas that were full of goldfinches.
posted by hydropsyche at 2:37 PM on October 19, 2021

And I just saw that several of the Atlanta entries were made by Atlanta Audobon's own amazing @hood_naturalist, Corina Newsome.
posted by hydropsyche at 4:03 PM on October 19, 2021 [1 favorite]

I know nothing about birds, but I look forward to Mockingjay Month each year*. Makes walks in the woods so much more enjoyable.

Can't say that out loud, though, it would make the Rusty Hinge Birds* feel bad.

*Yes, I happen to now know they're wood thrushes and blue jays. My initial point stands.
posted by tigrrrlily at 5:50 PM on October 19, 2021 [2 favorites]

In the last year and a half, it's been a massive pleasure getting to know the birds in my backyard and neighborhood. It's such a joy to watch the Stellar's Jays with their clever faces and jaunty crests, and note how they are the same, and different, than their cousins the Scrub Jays. I'm smitten with the Spotted Towhee and look forward to a winter migratory visit from Townsend's Warblers. The Vaux's Swifts, swooping into a nearby chimney, is a fantastic sight. And so many birds in between! This is awesome, jessamyn.
posted by but no cigar at 8:19 PM on October 19, 2021 [4 favorites]

but no cigar, the birds you listed are all highlights of my backyard as well (well, the Vaux's swifts are elsewhere of course), so much so that I had to peek at your profile, and low and behold we are indeed in the same town! Lately I've also really been enjoying the pair of flickers that visit my suet each day (though I think the scrubs will always be my favorite).

The binoculars and bird identification book by my window have both been new developments since the pandemic, and they're definitely improvements my wife and I should have made long ago. Hooray for birding!
posted by DingoMutt at 7:24 AM on October 20, 2021 [4 favorites]

My local Audubon chapter has been working on being more inclusive, including events designed to be accessible to beginning bird-noticers and low income folks (loaner binocs the default, sliding scale fee, accessible without a car) and outreach + instructor changes to include more people of color. And considering a name change, as JJA had some Bad Opinions.

I’ve been trying to get into birding for years previous to this, but the bird walks I went on were not beginning enough and Merlin can only help so much. I see kestrels everywhere now I know to look for them! It’s great being able to start layering birds into my understanding of ecology.
posted by momus_window at 8:22 AM on October 20, 2021 [2 favorites]

That's fantastic, DingoMutt! The Northern Flickers are fabulous, no? I love their dinosaur screech and their lovely markings. I'd not noticed the variety of birds in our city until everything closed down, a strange silver lining for sure. I now take my lunch breaks with my binoculars slung over my shoulder, seeking out birds that hang out around the library. Hooray indeed!
posted by but no cigar at 8:44 AM on October 20, 2021 [3 favorites]

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