Thursday, May 11, 2006

Why So Few Blog Postings About Birding?

I recently posted what I considered o be a surprisingly expansive list of North American bird blogs. But in the greater sphere of blogging, discussions of birding generally occur much less frequently than do discussions of most other outdoor activities. To illustrate this, I have used the handy-dandy tracking tools at BlogPulse (which scan the contents of more than 14 million blogs on a regular basis) to display six-month trends in the percentage of all blog postings that mention birding relative to 24 other outdoor activities. The results follow:

Birding versus fishing and hunting (compared to these popular outdoor activities, birding is rarely mentioned in blog postings)

Birding versus camping and hiking (again, compared to these popular activities, birding barely registers a blip on the graph)

Birding versus boating and kayaking (boating is mentioned about four times more frequently than birding blog postings, kayaking even more often)

Birding versus canoeing and rock climbing (why is rock climbing mentioned six times more frequently than is birding in blog postings?)

Birding versus jogging and rafting (why are people more apt to blog about their rafting trips than their birding experiences?)

Birding versus biking and golfing (why doesn’t birding also show a pronounced upward trend in the spring?)

Birding versus surfing and swimming (surfers and swimmers are obviously way more tuned into blogging than are birders)

Birding versus sailing and skiing (okay, skiing we can blame on the Winter Olympics, but sailing?)

Birding versus snorkeling and snowmobiling (this is really getting depressing!)

Birding versus gardening and whale watching (not surprisingly, gardeners rule!)

Birding versus cave exploration and hang gliding (finally, two outdoor activities that have less of a presence in the blogosphere than birding)

Birding versus beachcombing and sunbathing (birding is discussed by bloggers more often than beachcombing but less often than sunbathing)

Note added 05/22/2006: The exact spelling of search terms can make a big difference, as in the case of "beach combing" and "sun bathing" versus beachcombing and sunbathing. Use of the former terms in the initial search indicated that birding was mentioned more frequently than either "beach combing" or "sun bathing." A subsequent search using beachcombing and sunbathing not only resulted in more "hits" for these terms, but also indicated that sunbathing was actually mentioned more frequently than birding. Thus, the preceeding paragraph has been appropriately corrected.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the relative lack of birding blogs is in part because birders have local listservs, BirdChat, Surfbirds, FatBirder, and WorldTwitch (to name but a few). While these are not the same as blogs, they are well-established and serve birders well both for reporting sightings, discussing optics, trip reports, ethics, literature, and so on.

I also think that for some reason, the number of actual, active birders is quite a bit lower than the statistics would suggest. Last I heard, the American Birding Assocation had about 22,000 members. If for every one of these hard-core birders, there are 100 others, that means that there are 22,000,000 people who watch birds in this country. I'm guessing that there aren't nearly that many, by probably an order of magnitude.

Ellen

May 12, 2006 11:47 AM  
Blogger John L. Trapp said...

Ellen:

I appreciate your thoughtful comments on this post. You make some interesting points, even though I don't necessarily agree with them. This definitely deserves additional thought and investigation.

May 12, 2006 7:26 PM  

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