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Birding Challenge - my first official act Answered

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Oh, looky looky!

It's great what sort of things you can get up to when you're in the same room as the people who sign the cheques*!

Actually, to be honest, this was Noah's idea, but he wanted somebody that cared about the subject to do the donkey work.

So, announcing my first actual official Instructables Challenge!


Autumn is the bird-spotters’ peak season, and the time that garden birders prepare their garden for the next seasons’ bird activity, so to launch our new Birding Channel, we’ve put together some awesome prizes to reward your birding-related projects, be they equipment you make or modify, projects for the back-garden birder, or you’re passing on the essential skills and insider tips of birding. It would also be interesting to see what software tools or apps you could create to use in the field.

As a guide, I'm after something a little bit beyond a bird feeder.  Feel free to enter those, but I'd like folk to stretch themselves a bit.

For instance, I am, personally, very tone deaf (and I know a few older birders that are losing their hearing altogether) - can you create an app that would help me identify birds by their calls?

Or is there something cool that you've done to your birding kit, and other birders try and copy?

Or maybe you have a particular way of ensuring great photographs of birds in the open?

There are hundreds of dollars' worth of birding equipment at stake here.

Oh, and I'd appreciate those bloggers and tweeters out there to highlight the challenge as well - the more entries we get, the bigger the prizes get.

(Look how excited I got - I used bigger font all the way through!)

*Ha, that upset this American spell-checker!

33 Replies

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Goodhart (author)2012-08-10

Oh I know of a lot of such. My grandpa had a Martin box for instance. Isn't that a bit on the: ok, I built the box, and drilled a hole in it...... :-) kind of project?

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Kiteman (author)Goodhart2012-08-10

Presentation, positioning, and background information would make such a project.

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Goodhart (author)Kiteman2012-08-10

Well, I know they like to live in communities, and like small holes.....I'd have to research the rest :-)

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Moem (author)2012-08-09

Well, it sounds like it's not going to be much use entering a bird feeder. I'm not going to bother.
Oh well, I'm not a birder anyway. I did not even know bird could be a verb.

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Goodhart (author)Moem2012-08-09

Make it one that not only attracks a wide range, but takes pictures of them, and thwarts squirrels too :-) That might get his attention.

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canucksgirl (author)Goodhart2012-08-09

Hey.... squirrels get hungry too.

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Kiteman (author)canucksgirl2012-08-09

It depends where you are - in the UK, grey squirrels are an invasive species, classed as vermin, displacing our native red species.

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Goodhart (author)Kiteman2012-08-10

Interesting. Are they fairly big compared to the red squirrels there? Over here, in the north-east anyways it is the red squirrel that is over abundant. Grey squirrels are eaten by hunters, but only during hunting (small game) season. Reds, in NY I believe, can be hunted year round but are generally scrawny and not very meaty.l

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Kiteman (author)Goodhart2012-08-10

They are slightly bigger, but they aren't attacking them, just out-surviving them. Greys can eat a wider range of foods, for a greater portion of the year, so are simply doing better than the reds.

There is some talk of an infection being spread by the greys to the reds, but I think that's just speculation.

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Goodhart (author)Kiteman2012-08-10

I believe both eat nuts and berries mostly maybe even corn, etc, so yes they are pretty much vegetarians. I asked about size in order to determine if they were like our reds and greys. In many parks, grey squirrels become so accustomed to people that they walk right up to you to beg for food :-)

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Kiteman (author)Goodhart2012-08-10

Greys are bold like that in the UK as well, and will often walk right up and take peanuts from your hands - another survival advantage, like wild birds coming in to garden feeders in the winter.

(See how I neatly got the discussion back to the challenge there? Do you think anybody noticed?)

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Goodhart (author)Kiteman2012-08-10

Oh sorry, did not mean to derail your thread.....um yes, I have been thinking about this.....and have no skills to speak of in the area. Nothing I have ever done but "come upon them" while riding, driving, or walking

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Kiteman (author)Goodhart2012-08-10

Hehe, not really an issue, but have you not even an idea for a species-specific bird-box?

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canucksgirl (author)Kiteman2012-08-09

There's a challenge for someone... Make a bird feeder that accepts theft from red squirrels but deters invasive species...

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Goodhart (author)canucksgirl2012-08-10

A robot that recognized color coordinated squirrels hmmmm

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kelseymh (author)Goodhart2012-08-09

*attacks

A bird feeder equipped with frickin' lasers? That would be awesome!

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Kiteman (author)kelseymh2012-08-09

*ahem*

Maybe if they were infra-red lasers, and they triggered a camera when a landing bird broke the beam?

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kelseymh (author)Kiteman2012-08-09

Aw, you're no fun! Laser with cameras and pattern recognition software, on alt-az mounts, to automatically track in-flight, er, targets ;->

All that infrastructure is what the technical term "frickin'" refers to:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bh7bYNAHXxw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pozlp_wnkRk&feature=fvwrel

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Kiteman (author)kelseymh2012-08-09

Oh...kay...

Maybe we could call it a migration monitor?

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Kiteman (author)Moem2012-08-09

Don't be discouraged by that comment - feeders are welcome, but I am sure you are capable of more than just a handful of seeds in a recycled bottle. Maybe you possess the secret of the perfect food for a particular species?

Have a look at the feeders already in the Birding channel, and take yours one or two steps beyond those...

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Kiteman (author)2012-08-08

(And I have now fixed all the links I broke in the official rules. Fourteen pages of small print. My brain hurts.)

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kelseymh (author)Kiteman2012-08-08

Wait, what? You have to edit some stupid text file manually?!? Why aren't those rules generated from a script, where you provide your username and the contest link as arguments?

Somebody needs to go pound on Rachel's door (does she still have a door?) and get this fixed!

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Lithium Rain (author)kelseymh2012-08-09

Speaking generally, I know firsthand that in some circumstances autogenerated legal disclaimers/documents are not given the same validity as some text (or even the same text) that was transmitted using some kind of manual human effort. (For example, auto-generated email disclaimers are basically legally useless.) Perhaps AutoDeskIble's lawyers nixed such automation?

...on second thought, nah, it probably just never occurred to anybody. xD

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Kiteman (author)Lithium Rain2012-08-09

Probably the latter, but there are so many permutations to prize tiers and what-not that an automated version might be unrealistic.

(Although I bow to your expertise on the coding thereof.)

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Lithium Rain (author)Kiteman2012-08-09

:) That should still be plenty script-able, but I can see where it would get complicated to write and maintain.

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canucksgirl (author)kelseymh2012-08-08

Hey... If I have to write my ibles manually, then they can edit manually. :D

Kidding....

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caitlinsdad (author)kelseymh2012-08-08

psst, Rachel slipped out when the autoguards were snacking on wine and cheese. They lost her in a crowd of old ladies that dyed their hair blue. She is just part of the community now. :(

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Kiteman (author)kelseymh2012-08-08

*shrug*

Actually, the first time it was the editor that broke the links (you know how copying from Word into the site sometimes causes digital indigestion?), so rather than doing the find/replace thing in word and breaking it all over again, I copied and pasted the original source code from another contest, then edited it.

(Shhh, don't tell anybody)

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Thrasym (author)2012-08-09

It's wonderful to see someone passionate at work. Congratulations.

Would works of art be eligible subjects for this contest? Such as paintings, carvings, sculptures (of birds of course)? If they are, would mythical birds be eligible (such as a phoenix)? Or how about a sculpture of the skeletal system of a real bird?

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Kiteman (author)Thrasym2012-08-09

I'm afraid not, unless it was being used to attract birds to your location, or as an educational tool.

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artfulann (author)2012-08-08

Congratulations! Birds are wonderful. I feed them in my backyard. I feed them with my vegetables (I don't really want to give them my vegetables, but sometimes it seems not a choice.) I live in a place where we have a lot of birds (SE Texas- Houston). I like them and keep my cats indoors. But this challenge??? Don't know if I'll have an instructable worthy of posting. But again, congratulations on your challenge!!

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Kiteman (author)artfulann2012-08-08

You've got until the end of the month - see what pops into your head!

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