Nearly 10,000 people looked for birds on the internet, but two sisters from Louisiana's bayou country quickly took it a step further, searching for real birds near their home. The Hall sisters -- Siarah, 11, and Savanah, 12 -- played Birding the Net, Audubon's innovative social media campaign which ended November 7, but took their new-found love of birds outdoors. Joined by their brother, James, they not only saw American bald eagle, but an alligator!
The sisters were inspired to study birds by their new mother, who welcomed the adopted girls into her home only last year.
But the Hall sisters weren't the only ones discovering birds through this exciting new project. Audubon heard from thousands of people on Facebook. The unique campaign delivered on its goal of connecting people to the natural world around them and making them more aware of birdlife in their everyday lives.
Following are some quotes posted on Twitter and Facebook by real people:
- I'm enjoying the opportunity to meet new like-minded folks and being exposed to new birding Web sites.
- #birdingthenet has convinced me that I need to get out west for really awesome birds. & found some great enviro websites
- #birdingthenet has my 3 sons excited about birds. They watch the videos and read their profiles while collecting bird cards.
- The intro to the amazing variety of birding info on the net has been wonderful.
- Just stepped outside for a break. Red-bellied woodpecker on tree. Mouse finger twitched. #birdingthenet
- I've kicked myself many, many times for not birding when I lived in Florida! #birdingthenet
- I love the bird game! I bird all the time for work and play and think it really captures the searching aspect of the activity #birdingthenet
- Grew up in an #Audubon family, and this is just cool! http://t.co/7VrnNvFz #BirdingTheNet
- #birdingthenet Triangle region of North Carolina. Looking at all the birds coming to our feeder at work right now
- The #birdingthenet Whooping Crane inspired me to see the real thing at the @NationalZoo. A spectacular animal...amazing to see one so close.
- Birding the Net has taught me about other web sites where I can view birds, and share my love for them.
- Birding the net has introduced me to other web sites that have alot of information and perspectives on birds and wildlife. I think I have most enjoyed connecting and helping other birders from all over the country. Certainly there have been some frustrations, but I've found others to help me and I, in turn, have helped other people.
- It's fun and I don't have to win to enjoy it. I've learned some too, and I am never inclined to complain about something done as a service that costs nothing.
“When people encounter these remarkable birds online, they learn something new and view birds differently the next time they go outside,” said Audubon President David Yarnold. “In this subtle way, we’re introducing people to an amazing world.”
The game brought the thrill of the chase found in real-world birding, challenging web players to spot dozens of species by November 7. Web surfers saw virtual birds doing the same things that birds do outdoors – animations of birds flew across homepages, perched on mastheads, and flocked to birdhouses on personal websites and blogs. Along the way, players learned about some of North America’s most engaging bird species.
Clicking on the animated birds took players to the Audubon Facebook page to collect and trade “bird cards,” which featured recordings of birdsongs, bird facts, and video. The first players to collect all the birds will be eligible for the grand prize, a Lindblad Expedition cruise to the Galapagos for two.
In addition to the Galapagos cruise, prizes include Canon cameras, Nikon binoculars, gift cards to Woolrich and downloads of the Audubon Birds – A Field Guide to North American Birds mobile app from Green Mountain Digital. All 200 winners also receive one-year membership to Audubon. Prize-winners will be announced later this week.
Meanwhile, it's time to discover real birds outdoors. Check out this online guide http://www.audubonbirds.org/