Birding can be fun. Except when you have to get up early and it's cold. That's why Birding the Net may be so appealing to Internet surfers out there, especially those still wearing pajamas late into the afternoon. Just tongue in cheek, folks, this is about a new social media campaign by Audubon called Birding the Net. Virtual birds have been released all over the series of tubes, and being the first one to catch all of them could net you a grand prize trip to the Galapagos Islands. And just catching a few could bring you closer to getting out the binoculars and camera and taking a walk.
Of course, catching birds and putting them into little cages isn't what this is about. The campaign is about getting more people interested in birding through a game that matters, as opposed to one that just wastes your time. Mafia Wars, anyone?
The Birding the Net birds are showing up on more than 100 websites, including AOL, Slate and yours truly, The Discovery Channel. Different species of birds were released beginning Oct. 11, and the event continues through Nov. 7.
You might think of this as the opposite of Angry Birds, where you launch our feathered friends through the air at snorting pigs.
“This is about fun --- but it’s also about getting more people involved in taking action to protect birds and the planet we share with them," says David Yarnold, President & CEO of Audubon. "And with this unprecedented use of social media and the web, we’re also making it clear that this is not your grandmother’s Audubon.”
To play, log on to Audubon's Facebook page.
So when you see a bird on a site, or Facebook, that's what's happening. They'll be doing the same things birds do outdoors, like flying and perching and flocking. No mention of, um, pooping on your car.
Developers of this one say it's bound to go viral, since trading bird cards helps a player’s chances of winning. Hint: You also can follow @AudubonSociety @FloridaScrubJay and @RufHummingbird on Twitter for help in collecting more birds.
Even if you don't win the big prize (voyage for two to the Galapagos), collecting enough birds could still net you Canon cameras, Nikon binoculars and a one-year membership to Audubon. How appropriate.