#10: Mike Bergin – 10,000 Birds – Lessons from Pioneering an Online Nature Community – Nature's Archive
My guest today is Mike Bergin. Mike is the creator of 10,000 Birds, one of the oldest, and one of the most popular birding websites on the planet.
Mike was an early pioneer of nature blogging, carving a playbook for others to follow, and creating a community of birding bloggers. This carries on today, where his site has expanded to include top tier writers with diverse interests from across the globe.
In this episode we discuss the 10,000 Birds evolution, including how Mike grew the site, the challenges he encountered and overcame, and “transferable lessons” that can be used in other online pursuits. We dig into the unexpected opportunities that arose, as well as the lifelong community of friends and colleagues that it has created.
Mike also runs a podcast of his own, Tests and the Rest, relating to his other craft of college admissions prep, where he’s been able to apply many of these lessons he learned through 10,000 Birds.
We have a wide-ranging discussion beyond the nuts and bolts of building an online community, including bird names and moving away from “honorific” naming, ecotourism (and a great quote from Mike: “True ecotourism compels you to care about the place”), why birders make great neighbors, and some of Mike’s favorite field guides and books.
Links To Topics Discussed
People and Organizations
Corey Finger – Co-publisher of 10,000 Birds
Charlie Moores – early writer from Britain on 10,000 Birds
Rick Wright’s Blog, which delves into many fascinating topics, including bird name etymology and history.
Clare Morton – the Australian writer that Mike mentions
Dragan Simic – the Eastern European write Mike mentions
The Bronx Zoo – one of Mike’s childhood influences
Books and Other Interesting Things
Note: links to books are affiliate links
Mike’s Recommended Field Guides – Sibley’s is his favorite, but he also likes the Crossley guides
The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America – David Sibley
The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America – David Sibley
The Crossley ID Guide: Eastern Birds – Richard Crossley
The Crossley ID Guide: Raptors – Richard Crossley
The Crossley ID Guide: Waterfowl – Richard Crossley
Mike also recommends “What the Robin Knows” by Jon Young, which focuses on learning bird behavior – and especially vocalizations – to better learn what is happening in the environment. Jays and Crows “mobbing” behavior is an easy example, and this book gets much deeper.
Other Books and Things discussed
Mike’s article on “Wood-warbler Names Done Right”
Grey Treepie – one of the highlight birds Mike saw in Hong Kong
The Biggest Week in American Birding – Yes, it really is one of the bigger weeks in birding, held during migration in Ohio.
Opening – Fearless First by Kevin MacLoed
Closing – Beauty Flow by Kevin MacLoed
Both can be obtained from https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/