February 1, 2009 (Vol. 29, No. 3)

URL:
http://owlproject.media.mit.edu

Rating:
Strong Points: Clever information integration
Weak Points: Narrow focus

Summary:
Owls are pretty cool creatures. With their spooky eyes and even spookier calls, these nocturnal birds of prey look a heck of a lot bigger than they actually are. The smallest owl, for example, weighs in at just 1.1 ounces, and the largest one weighs about 10 pounds. Yipes. I wouldn’t want to be one of the small mammals listed as prey for these guys. Why, you might wonder, do I list a site on owls here? The reason isn’t exactly due to the large number of owl lovers among the readership (though, who knows?), but rather because I liked a couple of things this site did that I hope to encourage others to do. Aimed at anyone interested in locating owls and listening to owl calls, the site provides a Google map interface together with pinpointed sightings (on a U.S. map). A click of any of the links also provides a recording made of the owl at that location. This is a totally cool idea and a great way of integrating information. I’m sure some creative readers here might be able to do something similar if they put their minds to the task.