RIP IATB – Long live BirdingBlogs.

I and the Bird - no more.

by Gunnar on May 2, 2011 · 4 comments

in Birdblogging

IATB – No More!

IATB was published with its final edition today. A five year old institution dies. First read Mike Bergin’s excellent IATB obituary on 10000birds. UPDATE May 3, 2011: Also read Mike’s note on ABA blog, where he links to several of the very best IATB  editions.

Then check the #149 edition of IATB on TwinCitiesNaturalist by Kirk Mona. There are so many good reasons why IATB dies mentioned here, that I need to quote a full section including the links. Kirk writes:

Mike Bergin started I and the Bird as a Bird Blog carnival back on July 7, 2005. It was a new fresh idea at the time. A rotating cast of hosts collect some of the best user submitted bird writing and photography from around the web, wrap it up in a pretty package and deliver it to readers bi-weekly so they can learn about new blogs, writers, photographers, birds and adventures. It has been a success spanning six years. This 149th edition carries on that tradition but all things must end. Submissions have waned and each month it has been harder and harder for Mike to get people to host.

People are using the internet differently than they were back in 2005. Blogging is still a viable platform but there are other outlets as well now. With the growth of Facebook, Twitter and even photo sharing sites like Flickr, some people who used to blog have moved on to other platforms to deliver their messages. This is a good thing as some of these other platforms and venues are better suited to the types of content these people wanted to deliver. Content is now shared through twitter feeds and carefully curated twitter lists. You can, for example, subscribe to either the Twin Cities Naturalist twitter feed or a list I curate of good nature writers online. There are Facebook user groups about birds, there are daily bird-themed virtual newspapers hosted by Instead of waiting weeks for the Bird and I you can get a daily digest of the #bird hashtag or a curated daily look at bird news. These new technologies and more will probably mean the end to I and the Bird but it’s been a good run. Crack open a drink and raise a glass or perhaps pick up your bins and raise the glass to Mike Bergan and all the hosts and contributors who have made I and the Bird possible. You are all part of an incredible community and I hope we can all keep contributing to the online and real world birding scene in our own ways. (Read the rest of this post on Twin Cities Naturalist).

One thing that does not help blogging carnivals is that there is no rating involved – and as more and more birding blogs appear, each edition simply presents too much information without no other selection made, than that of the submitter.  It is not the host’s recommendations you see on a IATB. It’s just a very neutral long list.  I believe we need to know what the host thinks and adapt to Twitter and Facebook.
So, what to do then?

BirdingBlog Carnivals in new formats.

First of all, as of today I will revive my Tweet-Club, that you may remember from 2009. It was discontinued shortly after my daughter Anahi was born – but I believe it could live again, because more people understand Twitter today than in 2009, more birders are on Twitter now –  and my daughter is almost two years, which means I get more sleep.
In order to participate:

  • you must have a Twitter account
  • Submit the link of your best  blogpost the last two weeks to
  • you must RT the 5-10  posts you like most apart from your own.
  • Retweet up to 3 times spread out through the week.
  • Rotational this time. As last time, I shall start out until everyone has learnt the rules – and then the tweet club will be on rotational basis. The effect will be much like I and the Bird, although it does require a more active participation and a Twitter account.
  • Check the rules on A birdingblog from Peru.

Secondly. If this site is called – well why not have a weekly birdingblog summary right here.  Birdingblogs presents the best of the best.

Too busy to check out the best birding blogs on Twitter?
Hard to find which ones are the best ones?

The members of  BirdingBlogs will put down their suggestions for the best blogposts about birds  the past week. This will of course be just our suggestions but we guarantee they will be good ones. You just have to check our blog on Saturday morning – and you’ll have a weekend full of great reading and the fantastic bird photos.

Thirdly. If we can do it, so can you! Maybe in a smaller scale. There is 10 of us and one of you – but the idea is the same. Host your own little carnival on your own blog.

This is how we do it: Start a working document as a draft – and add blogposts as you go along every day – and set it to post automatically once a week.

Make sure the owners of each blogpost knows that you are featuring them. They will gladly promote your carnival to their followers and friends.  In WordPress, there is a “send trackback feature” you can use, but best if you simply write the blogger an email to make sure he sees it. You can have a standard note that you paste into an email, if you are short of time.

Long live the new Carnivals of  Birdblogs!

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Charlie May 3, 2011 at 8:47 am

Great idea Gunnar – a modern take on what had been allowed to become rather stale (and I speak wistfully as I discussed the IATB concept in New York with its ‘owner’ before it was launched and hosted the 2nd edition many years ago). Things change and I’m glad to see Birdingblogs take a lead here.


Gunnar Engblom May 3, 2011 at 3:58 pm

Thanks Charlie, I will start getting the format in the drafts in short while. And very happy to get your support on this. Although, it seems a bit opportunistic to start a weekly blog summery on Birdingblogs, I hope it will be seen as a tribute to IATB – which in effect was an inspiration to sharing and blogging community.


Robert Mortensen May 3, 2011 at 12:30 pm

I’ve started posting every other week on my blog a list of all the blog posts I thought were tweetable…my own blog carnival in a sense and it is a list of blog posts that I really enjoyed, and liked them so much I wanted to share them with others. Sharing blogs that someone felt were truly great….I think that is what was lacking on I and the Bird…some posts were great, some where not so great.


Gunnar Engblom May 3, 2011 at 3:59 pm

Exactly! Your blog is an inspiration Robert to other birdbloggers.


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