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eBird Australia 2016 Annual Challenges Update #3

Pacific Baza, Banksia Park, QLD. Photo by Mat Gilfedder, Macauley Library.

Here’s the third Annual Challenge update – covering lists submitted between 1 January and 31 August 2016. If you have submitted eligible lists to eBird, you don’t need to do anything extra to be considered a participant–we’ve automatically included your lists in the tallies. If you’re new to eBird Australia and haven’t heard about the […]

eBird Mobile 1.3: breeding and behavior codes

Common Potoo—NY breeding code. Photo by Jose Luis Navarro/Macaulay Library

A new version of eBird Mobile (1.3) has just been released that lets you note breeding and behavior codes in your mobile checklists—available for free on both iOS and Android. This lets you track breeding bird activity more easily than ever before, and also lets you log flyover codes—which could win you a pair of binoculars this month! If you’ve never tried eBird Mobile, there has never been a better time to get started. More than 110,000 eBirders have used eBird Mobile so far, replacing the field notebook as the easiest and most accurate way to record your bird sightings in the field. Learn how to get started with eBird Mobile. This latest version also provides the technical foundation that will allow us to build in automatic tracking of distance within the app, sharing of checklists, and many other features that we want and plan to build into eBird Mobile. Every step is bringing us closer to having the full eBird website on your mobile device!

Download on the App Store

Wetland Bird Feathers Wanted

Australian Pelican, Woodman Point, WA (Imogen Warren/Macauley Library)

Wetlands are habitats that are critical for Australia’s waterbirds, but they are under threat from reduced river flows and flooding, drought, climate change and land use changes. A joint research project between the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) and the University of NSW (UNSW) is enlisting eBirders and other citizen scientists in gathering bird feathers from wetlands. Read more

Explore and share your birding with eBird Profile Pages!

eBird Profile Featured Image

320,000 eBirders and growing… You’ve looked through eBird checklists and seen their names: kindred birding spirits whose sightings you may have glimpsed only once, or followed regularly over months and years. Now, you can find out who the people are behind these names by exploring eBird’s new Profile Pages! Whether you’re a backyard birder or a globe-trotting world lister, eBird Profile Pages allow you to share your birding story with friends and the entire eBird community. This first version of your public eBird dashboard focuses on showcasing your eBird/Macaulay Library activity with tools that visualize all your sightings and highlight your recent media contributions—all updated with each new eBird contribution. We hope these Profile Pages provide a fun new way to visualize the contributions you’ve made to eBird and the Macaulay Library, inspire you to ‘fill in the gaps’ in your profile maps, and allow you to get to know other eBirders by exploring their Profile Pages. Enjoy meeting the global eBird community, and set up your eBird Profile Page today!

September eBirder of the Month Challenge

Osprey by Geoffrey Groom/Macaulay Library

This month’s eBirder of the month challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics, will keep your binoculars pointed towards the sky. As the seasons turn over in September, the movement of birds begins perhaps the best part of a birder’s year: migration. Whether you’re north of the equator for fall, or enjoying an austral spring, things are happening! Migratory restlessness may result in local movements of 10s of kilometers, or something as drastic as undertaking herculean journeys that take shorebirds from the Arctic to the edge of the southern continents. The most amazing part of all of this is that you can witness it, wherever you are. The eBirder of the month will be drawn from eBirders who submit 15 or more eligible checklists in September containing at least one “Flyover” code. Checklists must be for observations during this month; not historical checklists entered during September. Winners will be notified by the 10th of the following month.

Rockin’ Robins

Rose Robin (M); The Royal National Park, NSW.

Most people think of robins and immediately recall the familiar European Robin (Erithacus rubecula), ubiquitous in gardens, Christmas cards and fairy-tales alike. North Americans are proud to have ‘their own’ robin species, the larger American Robin (Turdus migratorius). Australians, too, can proudly assert their own “robin redbreasts”, but few realise that the uniting factor behind all of these species (the red breast) is entirely superficial. Nor do many realise that Australia’s robin fauna extends far beyond red-breasted species.

Australian robins, in fact, belong to their own family, generically called Australasian robins (Petroicidae). Read more

Taxonomy Update for 2016

Lesser Violetear from Costa Rica. This species is somewhat smaller, has more emerald green feathering, and typically lacks the blue chin and blue central breast of Mexican Violetear, although some (like this bird) can show hints of blue in those areas. Photo Brian Sullivan/Macaulay Library.

The eBird taxonomy update is essentially COMPLETE. All major changes have occurred, and we have a small number of minor changes yet to make. This may affect the lists of a very small number of users as we implement these over the next few days. We do this update once each year, taking into account the past 12 months of recent taxonomic knowledge on splits, lumps, name changes, and changes in the sequence of the species lists. As of this point, all eBird data will be reflecting the new taxonomy. This includes your My eBird lists, range maps, bar charts, region and hotspot lists, and data entry. eBird Mobile should also be updated to the new taxonomy. If you see unfamiliar bird names in the list, please refer to the story below to understand the change and why it happened. In addition, we list a number of new options for data entry (hybrids, spuhs, slashes, etc.), all of which are listed below.

Taxonomy update for 2016 – Australia

Western Whistler by Geoffrey Groom/Macaulay Library

The annual eBird taxonomy update IS NOW UNDERWAY. Work is still going in the background to update existing checklists, update maps etc., but the revised taxonomy should already appear as you enter new checklists. It is worth having a look at which Australian species are being treated differently with the 2016 update.

Every year, the eBird/Clements taxonomy is updated. This year, for Australian eBirders, there are several changes to be aware of. Read more…

Taxonomy update coming—9 August

Grey-faced Petrel has been split from Great-winged Petrel. This Grey-faced Petrel photo off Tasmania taken by Paul Brooks/Macaulay Library

The annual eBird taxonomy update will begin this Tuesday, 9 August. The process will continue for at least a couple of days (until Wednesday, 10 Aug or Thursday, 11 Aug). We do this once a year to reflect the most recent changes in avian taxonomy: splits, lumps, name changes, and changes in the sequence of the species lists. You may notice some unusual behaviour with your lists and other tools (see below), but this is nothing to worry about. The 2016 splits and lumps will be published very soon on this page. We will summarise these changes in an eBird story once the taxonomy update is complete. A more thorough discussion of this year’s changes can be found at the Clements Checklist, where the 2016 updates have been posted. Read more…

August eBirder of the Month Challenge

Chestnut Teal, Wynn Vale, SA, Maury Swoveland.  ML 28819721, CL S29052622

This month’s eBirder of the month challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics, is a photography and recording contest! Don’t worry, you don’t need a fancy camera or microphone to win. Minimum entry requirements are an appreciation for birds, your optics of choice, and anything that takes a picture or makes a recording: phone, camera, voice recorder—whatever works! The next time you’re in the field, take a few seconds to immortalize some of the birds you’re encountering through image or sound, and add those media to your checklists. Read more