This gleeful horsetender used to dwell in the Birdosphere. In fact, that is the only reason I know her. Like many, she got sucked into the gravity well of a non-blogging black hole, where so many of my comrades have met their fate.
Ah, the bird blog. At one time, it was very popular to be a blogging birder...but like so-called patriots telling us to "never forget", those days are long behind us. Most bird blogs lie fallow, with no fresh material being added for years. My flock, once large and thriving in the Birdosphere, is dwindling rapidly...there are only a handful of bird blogs I look forward to checking now. We are going the way of the Dodo...or to be more contemporary, our population decline mirrors that of the Lesser Prairie-Chicken. Our fate is uncertain, but it is decidedly gloomy for now.
So what has lead to the decline of the bird blog? It's not difficult to figure out.
Sometimes, when I'm not feeling particularly creative, I can slap something like this into a post and all I can really think of saying is "This is a Double-crested Cormorant...I sure see a lot of these. Yup...Ok moving on now...". That is neither fun to read, nor is it fun to write.
Most bird blogs are really similar in content and format. The vast majority of bird blogs that have surfaced followed the tried and true "I-went-here-and-saw-these-birds" format, with little variation. I'm not the first one to point this out, nor is this the first time I've stated this here. Obviously there is nothing wrong with this format (I follow it constantly) but unless you can really make your posts interesting and not the same stale, recycled trip report over and over again, it can be hard to get much of a readership...and knowing people actually read your content is key to having the motivation to create more. This leads us to a plain and simple fact:
Most people are not good writers. There is a reason that not all people are writers...most people are not good at it. That includes birders. If you don't have the ability to write in a way that draws people in, that makes people want to come back for more, then your writing won't gain much traction. Sure some bloggers honestly don't care about accruing readers, but hella people do. Of course, another reason bird blogs were popular was because it was a good place to see bird porn, which leads us to...
I like this Magnificent Frigatebird photo. It's not the most amazing photo, but I think it's definitely likable. Good bird, good pose, sharp, good light, no editing done except the slightest bit of cropping. Not long ago you wouldn't see bird photos of equivalent quality plastered all over Facebook or embedded in every listserv post or eBird checklist; blogs were actually a good place to check out bird porn. Bird blogs no longer have the significance they once did for photographers.
Photographers. Everyone is a photographer now. More birders carry some kind of camera than those do not, at least that is my impression, and there are a great many photographers (who aren't really birders in the traditional sense) who specialize on birds. This was not the case 6 or 7 years ago. And not only are there more photographers now, everyone is also sharing their photos everywhere they can. It's easy to see tons of bird porn on Facebook without even trying. Ugh, remember the "seven day nature photo challenge"? Glad that's over...I wasn't in to the whole birdspam thing. You couldn't avoid seeing bird photos if you wanted to.
A spring male Rose-breasted Grosbeak is a true thing of beauty, the sort of bird that can turn someone into a birdwatcher (sorry Savannah Sparrow). Is there room on Facebook to do this bird (verbal) justice? Is someone really going to launch into a profound ode to Rose-breasted Grosbeaks in a podcast? If so, please tell me when that becomes available.
Social media is not just for sharing photos of course, the anecdotes and stories that once were prime blog fodder now get posted elsewhere as well. Aside from Facebook, podcasts have also begun to take up space in what was formerly blog territory. Who doesn't love podcasts? That said, if you are going to do a birding podcast you have to put a lot more effort into that than a blog post, and you better be good at it if you are going to have an audience. I can only imagine that making a consistently entertaining podcast is a hell of a lot more difficult than slapping a string of decent blog posts together, so I am very skeptical that podcasts are really going to catch fire in the birding world considering the necessary talent and effort required...also, birders tend to be very conservative in their public displays of humor, and that is not a recipe for good podcastery.
Many bloggers quit out of sheer laziness. That's cool, laziness happens. I can be pretty slothful myself. Life can get in the way too; yup, some birders have those. This is all totally understandable.
So there you have it - the bird blogger population is dwindling rapidly, and it is no great mystery why. With that all said, BB&B is going to call it quits.
Nah. I lied. BB&B has no plans for throwing in the proverbial towel...what would all of our interns do? Maybe we are atavistic scum-nerds with shit for brains, but we will blog onward. There are stories to tell, birders to lampoon, photographs to post in between the realms of Facebook and Flickr. The Birdosphere is not a popular place to be anymore, and that's just fine by me...if you really care about what is popular, then you shouldn't be birding. However, I will soon be facing a hurdle in my blog output...I'm going to be a daddy in a few months. Isn't that fucking crazy??? Not that it should surprise you (have you read the title of this blog?). I won't use that as an excuse to bury BB&B though, you have my word. As I said, what would all of our interns do?