Bird Club to introduce eBird

Published 12:23 pm Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Margaret H. Watson Bird Club will meet Thursday at the Farmville-Prince Edward Community Library with light refreshments and conversation at 6:40 p.m. followed by the meeting at 7 p.m.  The program will be given by Vice President Evan Spears who graduated from Longwood University in 2013 with a degree in biology with a concentration in ecology and evolution. 

Spears has worked for Virginia State Parks since 2012, and is currently the park naturalist at Holliday Lake State Park in Appomattox County.  In addition, Spears has been working with the Friends of the Appomattox River to document all of the flora and fauna along the Farmville Blueway. He is the ornithology presenter for the local chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalists.

The program will address some interesting ornithological questions. How do people know where certain birds live? In the past, how did people record the birds they saw?  Why should birds be recorded? 

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Bird conservation has come a long way in the past 100 years, and now the future of  bird watching is here  — it is called eBird.  This easy-to-use, revolutionary website allows anyone from any country all around the world to enter their bird sightings. This tool has changed the way ornithological data can be collected.  Now, ordinary citizens can help contribute to the global database of avian knowledge, a task that was previously the domain of a relatively small handful of scientists. Spears’ program will explore, and try to answer the biggest question of all:  why should we care about birds?

Spears’ avian photography is posted on the Internet, and those who attend the program will have a chance to see some of his stunning images. He recently reported that an elusive little creature, the prothonotary warbler, has arrived from its wintering grounds and has been spotted at Wilck’s Lake. There are gorgeous birds like this tiny golden warbler all around us, and many people are completely oblivious to their presence. Spears and other members of the club are pleased to share their passion for birds. All are invited to join the MHW Bird Club  to learn about the fascinating world of eBird.