How Social Media Helps Birds

28th July 2016

How Birders Use Social Media

Whether it is on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or any other of the many different social networking sites, birders can put their social connections to great use. While not all social media sites offer the same options and different birders use social media in different ways, popular ways birders engage with social networking include…

Sharing photos, trip reports, yard sightings and other personal birding stories.

Asking for help to identify mystery birds or unknown species.

Sharing hot sightings and vagrant birds for other birders to discover.

Promoting birding events such as local walks, festivals, fundraisers and more.

Sharing tips and projects to make birding and backyard birding even easier.

Asking for assistance for rescuing birds, solving problems or helping bird conservation.

Spreading the news about birds, including breaking news and research updates.

Sharing bird-related humor, jokes, memes and other amusing posts.

Connecting with other birders, clubs and conservation organizations around the world.

How Social Networking and Media Can Help Birds

While there are ways that social media can be harmful to birds, when used responsibly, social networking sites can be beneficial to birds in both direct and indirect ways, such as…

Locating and Contacting Bird Rescues and Rehabilitation Facilities

It can be distressing to find an injured or sick bird, but it is even more distressing if a birder doesn't know how to get appropriate help for the bird. Birders can connect directly to bird rescue organizations and experienced rehabbers through social media, asking advice or reporting birds that need help even outside typical office hours. When a bird needs help, spreading the word through social media can get the bird the proper assistance quickly, improving its chances of a healthy recovery.

Correcting Misconceptions About Birds

Urban legends, rumors and myths about birds can be pervasive, but correct information can be found online and shared through different social media sites. If birders are unsure about whether information is accurate, it is easy to connect with other birders and ornithology experts through social media to get updates and share them with others to dispel inaccurate stories and unsubstantiated rumors that could be harmful to birds.

Raising Awareness for Bird Conservation Causes

Fundraising efforts, special events or news about endangered birds can be spread much further through networking websites than any mailing campaign or unsolicited phone calls, and the more people who know about different causes, the more successful different conservation campaigns will be. Many social media sites also have direct options for making donations or easily spreading the word to even more people, helping grow conservation efforts through grassroots organization.

Contributing to Citizen Science Projects

Socializing websites give birders easier options for participating in different citizen science projects such as population surveys, feeder watching events and similar projects, as well as connecting with other birders for tips on how to participate more effectively. When results are shared through social media, more birders can be inspired to participate, and the more data that is collected through these projects, the better the overall analysis will be. That analysis is critical for gauging new conservation measures and research projects to benefit birds.

Sparking More New Birders

When birders share their passion for all things feathered through social media, their enthusiasm can be infectious and may engage new birders. A shared photo could become a new birder's spark bird, or seeing beautiful scenery from a birding walk could encourage others to join in the next walk or hike. The more people who are interested in birding, the more birders there are available to help any birds that may need assistance.

Growing Appreciation for Bird Diversity

While birding can always be exciting, it is even more exciting to discover new and unusual birds. Not all birders are fortunate enough to travel the world, but social media can help every birder learn more about birds they may never have even heard of. This raises awareness and appreciation for avifauna diversity, helping every birder stay passionate about birds and birding so they are always ready to help different bird-related causes.

Using Social Media in Helpful Ways

Even with the best intentions, social media birding may not always be as helpful as possible. To avoid hurting birds with inappropriate social media posts, shares, likes or tweets, birders should always…

Verify facts before posting to avoid perpetuating rumors.

Respect others' copyrights and never share photos or videos without permission.

Be polite and respectful in comments or messages to avoid misunderstandings.

Follow proper birding ethics and never use social media in ways that could jeopardize birds.

Social media is a huge part of many people's online personalities, and used well, any social networking site can be a great tool for helping birds.

Photo – Injured Great Blue Heron © Misty Pine Photography

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