"Where the Birds Are" is a virtual birdwatching game featuring high-definition 3-D bird graphics and utilizing real bird-distribution data to provide birdwatching novices and enthusiasts with an authentic online birding experience. "Where the Birds Are" is perfect for classrooms studying birds, or, for those who wish to practice their bird-identification skills. Easily identify everyday birds such as robins, cardinals, and blue jays, and others in the backyard habitat, or, try less familiar birds in the forest region of Pennsylvania such as the Scarlet Tanager, Great-crested Flycatcher, Eastern Wood-Pewee, or Ruffed Grouse. In the Desoto, Alabama region, scan the treetops for southerly-occurring birds such as Summer Tanagers, Orchard Orioles, or Yellow-throated Warblers and many more. in the Choctaw regions, look for common water birds like Mallards, Wood Ducks, Great Blue Herons, and Great Egrets, and Ospreys. Here, you can see majestic Bald Eagles or follow the looping flights of Purple Martins and Tree Swallows. Each location features abundant birds, common birds, fairly common birds, uncommon birds, rare birds (such as the Black Rail or Brewster's Warbler), and even the rarest of all --accidentals. The less common the bird you identify, the more points you receive for its identification. Over time, your bird identification skills WILL improve using wherethebirdsare.com as you see birds from different angles, hear their songs and learn what birds are common in what habitats, and learn field marks that differentiate birds. You can even take "snapshots" of birds and post them to facebook or twitter.
Real-time statistics show your identification success rate, the relative abundance of each bird within the system, and the overall success rate of all players registered in identifying each bird. You'' see that most participants have no trouble identifying robins and cardinals, but id success rates decline for less familiar birds. From within the Allegheny National Forest, bird watching enthusiasts have the opportunity to identify the rare Brewster's Warbler and hopefully snap a picture.
Birdwatching has been a passion of mine since I was seven years old. I was always an odd kid, obsessed with things like vending machine football helmets, presidential facts, and star wars figures, so the synergy between my personality and the unique intangibles required to mold a bird watching fanatic proved a perfect storm.
I was hooked after my father, who was also a birder, bought me a series of bird identification cards for the state of South Carolina (I think we were visiting Hilton Head Island or Kiawah Island). I quickly memorized the facts about each bird and learned to identify each when the picture was shown to me. I was most fascinated by the Painted Bunting and Red-headed Woodpecker. I ceaselessly would badger him about the birds he had seen growing up asking him "Have you ever seen an Ovenbird? How about a Summer Tanager?" Until I had memorized his entire life list.
Soon, I was able to identify the birds in my own backyard such as the Northern Flicker, Carolina Wren, Baltimore Oriole, and occasional Red-breasted Nuthatch or Evening Grosbeak in the winter. While most of the neighborhood kids were sleeping or watching cartoons early in the spring mornings, I was out invading their backyards trying to locate a singing Red-eyed Vireo or Yellow Warbler, losing all sense of time, location, and notion of property. Birding also provided me with an opportunity to bond with my father, who would occasionally take me an hour or so away to the Powder Mill Bird Banding station in rural western Pennsylvania, where I learned to identify warblers and empidonax flyctachers. I will never forget weekend mornings when he and I would visit nearby Latodami Nature Reserve in the northern suburbs of Pittsburgh - where amongst the deep, mixed forests and woodland clearings, most of the birds on my life list were first checked off.
Fast forward twenty or so years. While I never became the Cornell University ornithologist, I did become a kids software designer. My main website, MrNussbaum.com, attracts over two millions kids every month. Several months ago, I was listening to an interview with a Cornell Ornithologist on National Public Radio stressing the importance of promoting birdwatching to young people. Having both a passion for birdwatching and for developing educational games, apps, and learning modules for kids, I sought to create a virtual birdwatching world that would prove both fun and educational to all audiences, but especially to kids.