Saturday, September 8, 2012

HMANA on Twitter! One more way to track raptors this fall

There has been a lot of talk amongst hawkwatchers over the years about finding better ways to stay in touch while hawkwatching and how to share up to the minute reports on what’s being seen across the network of sites. Well HMANA is happy to report that we are officially taking the Twitter plunge and we have a hawkwatcher to thank for helping us make it happen!

A message from hawk counter, Luke Tiller:
Sitting at the Quaker Ridge hawkwatch a few season’s ago, I had an idea of setting up a ‘live’ hawkwatch update service. The thought reoccurred to me after getting a call from a New Jersey watch south of us today and spurred me to discus implementing this idea through HMANA. I’m sure I’m not the only hawkwatcher to wonder how we could better be in touch with other counters across the country and to have the facility to access ‘live’ reporting of what is happening at other sites, whether it is big flights or interesting birds. Beyond collecting tens of phone numbers (and then spending important watching times to call those) I thought that a little modern technology might be able to help us accomplish that.
Twitter seems like the obvious tool for this sort of thing and discussing it with a few friends, my thought was that we could create a dedicated hawkwatch Twitter account that could be used by watchers to put out details of what they were seeing during the day. Lots of us now have smartphones or web access at our sites which would allow us to access this kind of information and the kind of reports one would want to send would fit perfectly into a short tweet format. E.g: CT, Quaker Ridge, 9/5, 12:15pm 1 Swainson’s Hawk (juvie dark morph) heading SW
This one account would mean there was a central location for people to read live reports of what other watches were seeing. Any legitimate counter (paid or volunteer) who wanted to participate would be given the username and password to the account so that they could post to it.

If you are interested in being able to post your sightings send an email to to get set up. You will be sent a password for the Twitter account username hmanahawkwatch and you’ll also get a posting protocol guide. If you only want to read the feed, just go ‘follow’ hamanahawkwatch on Twitter.

 We are in the process of testing this but hope to make the feed available on the HMANA Facebook page and website in the near future (for those Twitterless people). With big Broadie pushes just on the horizon it seems like the perfect time to kick this off!


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