>Hello World

I write code, and I watch birds. Sometimes at the same time.

Welcome to the very first post of my shiny new blog. As one does with new blogs, I will start with an introduction on me. My name is Brandon Edwards. I’m a computer science and statistics student at the University of Guelph. My interests and hobbies of my life have been all around the map. They’ve included anything from amateur stargazing, to Geocaching, and even weather watching and reporting (seriously, I actually made the local newspaper once). While I’ve never flat out given up a hobby, they tend to wax and wane with what interests me at the time. However, a select few interests have stuck around the longest: computers, photography, and most recently, ornithology. This is how I’ve ended up where I am today. When I’m not writing code for school, work, and personal projects, I’m out watching, studying, and photographing birds.

Black-capped Chickadee
Black-capped Chickadee at the University of Guelph Arboretum. Taken December 1, 2016.

These two drastically different interests of Ornithology and Computer Science appear to come with a major caveat in that I can really only choose one to study for a university major, and I’ll have to leave the other to be self taught. Obviously, you can see which interest I’ve delegated to which learning method.

But is this really the case? Over the past few years, the field of computer science has become increasingly interdisciplinary. There is a desire for computer scientists in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics, economics, sociology, psychology, history, and, luckily for me, ecology. Some examples of a fusion of computer science and ecology comes with the citizen science platforms of eBird and iNaturalist, both of which I am a very active user of. I won’t get into details of these platforms right now; that will likely be for future posts. But it’s clear that the gap between something so seemingly different, such as computer science and ornithology, may not be so large afterall.

RTHA 02-26-2017
Red-tailed Hawks taking part in a mating ritual. Taken February 26, 2017 in Guelph, ON.

So that’s what this blog is going to focus on. Primarily, it is going to be an ornithology blog that will account the details of bird outings that I’ve done or have been a part of. However, some posts are going to feature concepts from both computer science and ornithology and how they can be used together. I’m still early in my undergraduate career, so there are still plenty of computer science concepts for me to learn. And I’m still early in my self-teaching ornithology “career”, so there are still plenty of ornithology concepts for me to learn as well. I’m looking forward to developing this blog as I continue to learn in each of those respective fields. I hope you can learn a thing or two from me as you read along.

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