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Traveler Readers Invited to "Test Drive" Prototype Website For Birding in the National Park System


National Park Service staff are developing a web-tool to help you learn more about species in the parks. The current prototype revolves around birds.

OK, Travelers, this is your chance to add your input to how the National Park Service develops its websites. A prototype that revolves around birding in the parks is now in the testing phase, and we encourage you to see if it meets your demands!

As envisioned, this site can be a great tool for birders. Basically, you can view certified species lists, click on column headers to sort by that criteria, and download the data.

The detailed grid shows order and family in addition to the columns in the simple grid. If you click on a species name, it opens another page with information about that species. On that species page, the above-the-line NPS-specific information will include maps showing what other Park Service units that species is present or absent in, and there are additional buttons to search the NPS taxonomy service for other names, and the NPS documents catalog for documents, datasets, maps, images, about that species, either in that particular NPS unit, or in any NPS unit.

Additional links will lead you to external, but trusted, sources of information about the species, such as the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

At first blush this seems like a great resource...although the technical woes that have troubled the Park Service's websites of late can test one's patience. Another possible shortcoming that hopefully can be addressed is a lack of images. While there are links that will take you to other sites that carry photographs of the birds in question, it'd be nice to see a photo next to the basic information provided for the species so you don't have to leave the NPS site.

So....check out the site, and leave your comments below. We'll see that the proper Park Service personnel see them.

Once the final version is developed, individual parks will be able to add a birding page that's specific to their park.


The NPS website must not be awake yet, this Monday morning (7:50 A.M. Eastern Daylight time).

I can't seem to get to the websites sited inthe article. Sounds very interesting.
I'll try them again later.


Yep, the system certainly seems to be off to a bad Monday morning start. Hopefully it'll come back to life soon (7:46 a.m MDT).

Yup; Welcome to my life.

All of (the I&M website) is not responding.

I'll politely ping the IT folks.

I apologize, folks.


The server is back up. I'd appreciate suggestions on the prototype.

When we make a production version of this (available for all NPS units), it will be hosted on a different, allegedly more reliable server.

Looking forward to getting a look at it when the website is cooperating. One question from the get go...will it be available in mobile web format? I'd probably be a lot more inclined to use it in the field if I can access it from my iPhone, like I can with field guides and other bird related websites.

It gives both too much and not enough.

(a) too much: The scientific name and the order are not necessary. Most birders carry one or more bird guides which give the scientific names.

(b) not enough: What is meant by an entry for a given species under Abundance? Is it an averaging of how abundant a species is throughout the year. If so, then the information is useless when considering how the degree of abundance can vary throughout the year, particularly for birds that are not year-round residents. Abundance should be given for each of four seasons.

If you want an immediate comment - the page I am looking at right now ( plus the invitation) has a problem with readability - both the announcement text and the reader comments are showing up so wide that they protrude into the green band at right. I am sure this is not your intent. It is possibly a browser issue but should be rectified before you go live. I am using Firefox 3.6.8 on a Mac iBook G$ running OS 10.5. Haven't looked further yet.

The links at the species pages I checked weren't working, eg, Cornell Lab of Ornithology and eNature. Since the content at your pages is limited, having these work will be very helpful. I'm assuming you're linking to at Cornell or possibly to each individual species account. This is a great idea and will be well worth the hassles once it is up and running. Thanks!

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