Whether looking for a new birding spot near home or planning an extended trip to the far corners of the state, you’ve probably used a bird-finding guide to help find a prime location. Ten years ago, Ken Ostermiller was thinking about bringing bird-finding guides into the 21st century using crowd-sourcing. The site he developed based on the Wikipedia model wasn’t getting much traction until a conversation with fellow birder and software developer Adam Jackson. The conversation hatched the current Birding Hotspots website that is rapidly gaining traction across the country. The site integrates with eBird hotspots and can help you plan a birding trip in any of the 35 participating states. In this program, introduced by CFO President Chuck Hundertmark, Ken and web developer Ann Johnson will take us on an interactive tour of the new website.
Ken Ostermiller enjoys bird watching and remembers his first bird identification when he was 7 years old was a Yellow-shafted Flicker (now a Northern Flicker). He enjoys observing the common birds of an area as much as seeking rare birds. As a volunteer, he reviews suggestions of bird reporting hotspots for eBird, a real-time, online checklist program launched in 2002 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society. Ken is a retired educator and United Church of Christ minister and likes having time in retirement to follow his interest in birds.
Ann Johnson made Pileated Woodpecker the first bird on her life list at the ripe old age of seven and officially became a birder, a hobby that has brought her immense happiness and adventure for many years. At the age of twelve, she became the youngest member of the Iowa Ornithologists’ Union and the rest is history. In 1995, combining her interests in birding and technology, she developed the first IOU web presence. After becoming the Iowa Records Committee secretary in 2000, this effort expanded to the development of web applications for birding business, allowing birders to interactively report their rarities and seasonal significant sightings electronically. Word of mouth eventually led to involvement with other natural history organizations and she has been involved with Colorado Field Ornithologists since 2013. Ann retired from state government as a child welfare management analyst and has devoted her time to bringing together the analysis, organizational knowledge, and programming skills for the benefit of birders everywhere.
Chuck Hundertmark’s interest in birds developed in junior high school and took off while he was finishing undergraduate work at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a past president of Albuquerque Audubon, New Mexico Ornithological Society and Denver Field Ornithologists, and past board chair of Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory (now Bird Conservancy of the Rockies). He has published papers in ornithology and taught numerous bird identification and behavior classes. He worked multiple blocks for The Second Colorado Breeding Bird Atlas and authored several species accounts. More recently, he did field work for the Maine Breeding Bird Atlas. He is currently president of Colorado Field Ornithologists.
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