Farewell to the Alachua County birding report

All good things must come to an end. But so must all mediocre things. This birding report, for instance. I can’t remember exactly when I started it, but I’ve being sending it out for over fifteen years. Lately it’s been superseded by the “Alachua County Birding” Facebook page and eBird’s various “alerts.” I’ve noticed that many solicitations and questions posed here have gone unanswered (though mailed out to over 550 addresses!). I’ve had birders who are on my mailing list ask me questions which I’d answered a few days previously in a birding report. More to the point, only a few people pass along their unusual sightings to me anymore; I have to get most of my information from eBird. All of this suggests to me that the reports are not much read anymore. I suspect that this is because most of us have moved from desktop computers to smartphones, and the birding report is too long to read on a smartphone – it’s still written for a person relaxing in front of a monitor with a cup of coffee. But it’s the nature of contemporary society to move on from one communications platform to another, and it makes no sense to complain. It was fun while it lasted, and I’m surprised that it lasted more than fifteen years.

Plus, I’m 60 years old, and if my brain holds out – a pretty big if, as it happens – I’ve got only 10 or 20 years to accomplish some of the other things I wanted to do in my life. I’ve got a whole house full of books to read and some other stuff I’d like to do as well. The internet just gets in the way. So I’m discontinuing the Alachua County birding reports. If you want to keep up with the local sightings, take advantage of eBird alerts or the “Alachua County Birding” Facebook page. If you don’t want to join Facebook under your own name, then come up with a fake name like Harry Dogsbotham (maybe something a bit more plausible) and use it solely for checking the birding pages on Facebook (but if you want to join the “Alachua County Birding” Facebook page using a fake name, let Mike Manetz or Bob Carroll know what you’re doing via private email). And don’t forget to join the Alachua Audubon Facebook page for program meetings and field trips (like next year’s Burrowing Owl field trip).

My thanks to you all for many years of support and conversation.