Every birder can remember the days before they learned taxonomic order. Field guides seemed to make no sense, and the air filled with the sound of flipping pages everytime we saw a new bird.
But as soon as we learned taxonomic order it became second nature. Where are the flycatchers? Right after woodpeckers, of course! Why aren’t loons with ducks or albatrosses with seagulls? Because they’re not even closely related to each other.
So when we redesigned All About Birds, we really should have kept a way for birders to use taxonomic order. But we thought people would find our auto-complete search feature a faster method than clicking through a taxonomic tree (and our Search box still is a great way to get a quick list of species).
But users wasted no time in setting us straight. Requests for a Browse Taxonomy page became our number 1 comment on the blog and in our e-mail. People wrote so urgently and passionately that we made it our #1 priority – and now Browse Taxonomy is a reality.
To get you started, here are a few features. Choose a family from the list at left, and you’ll see the following for every species in that family:
- a thumbnail photo, to help you decide which bird you’re looking for
- links to each of the tabs on the species account
- a sample sound for each species, in case you want to ID a song
- and, if you go to a species page and then hit your back button, you’ll be returned to the same point in the family list you just came from
Once you’re on a species account, don’t miss these added ways to navigate:
- Similar species: jumps you down to the similar species text (and photos if present) written specifically to help you ID your bird
- Related species: takes you to the Browse Taxonomy page to see other species in the family
- Jump to Recent: tracks the last 10 species you’ve looked at, so you can quickly return to them to compare notes
We’re excited about this new feature, but we’re also excited about how it happened. You asked for it, we listened, and now we hope the site is more useful than it was. Open communication with all the bird watchers out there is one of our goals on the Web, and as you can see it pays dividends. So please continue to write to us with your comments, complaints, ideas, and encouragement!
(Image: Common Eiders and Common Loon by Byard Miller via Birdshare)