Birding from the Office

I'm not the greatest or most obsessed birder on the planet (though I'm sure I know that particular bloke...), but I do tend to notice things flying around/past.

This morning there's a new bird of prey in the air over the building next to me. He's not the jackal buzzard, nor any of the myriad kites and falcons. It's not one of the pair of fish eagles that we finally saw on Saturday (after hearing them in the distance for years). But what it is, I don't know!

And that got me thinking.

My Roberts Birds book is at home. I'm not going to lug it around on the offchance I see something new. I haven't got it memorized either, so it's unlikely I'll make a spot identification without getting it wrong. Besides, it's an early 70's model, and many of the bird names and classifications have changed.

BUT I do have internet access! You'd think there'd be an online bird "field" guide somewhere, surely? Nope, not at all. I suspect the knowledgeable folk are too busy birding out in the field to sit down and compile one online.

You DO get PDA versions of most guides - at a price - and there are more electronic formats coming out. And perhaps that's the issue. Why give away free access to bird identification when you can rather make paying customers out of people?

Whatever the case may be, it would be really great if there were a world birding site with every possible fowl listed, a searcheable database that contained info on how the thing looks, where it's supposed to be, calls, eggs, breeding times, food.. all that. At best the current info is minimal. Even things like looking up what a baby owl is supposed to be fed require much Googling. Heck - the database could contain info for rescue organizations local to where you've spotted it too, just in case!

So - any birders want to give this one a shot? If so, I'd be first in line to use it!