Welcome to eBird Central America! You are now part of a global network of birders, researchers, and conservationists—united through our interest in birds and the natural world. More than 200,000 people have used eBird, submitting more than 260 million bird observations from every country on earth. Whether you are reporting birds seen out the window of your home, or spending a day hiking remote mountains for rare species—we want your observations! Any bird, any time, any place. Now, you’re ready to go birding, but you might not be sure about how to get your sightings into eBird, or what the best practices are for eBirding? We’ve got you covered. This article should have what you need to get started.
How do I submit my sightings to eBird?
To have your sightings appear across eBird, they have to be entered as one or more checklists.
If you’re just starting out with eBird, we have an article that should be able to help you out with the whole process – from setting up an account to entering your first observation: read it here. Our Getting Started page has additional help if you have more questions.
To view the names of the birds in the language of your choice, make sure to go to your eBird Preferences. Here you can choose the Common Names of birds that you want to see, as well as Scientific Names if you wish.
eBirding Best Practices
No matter how passionate you are about birds, you have the potential to gather valuable data for science, if you upload your observations to eBird and take a little time to ensure that you are submitting your sightings the most appropriate way. We want your eBirding to be lots of fun, but we also want it to be of highest value for conservation, ornithology, and for other birders. Here are 6 tips that will help improve the quality of your eBirding, and also increase the number of birds you can find:
Important: these are not requirements, but they are the best ways to contribute your sightings to help science and global bird conservation
- Make several site lists during a birding outing. This is one of the most important ways to increase to science value of your eBirding in general, and it is especially true for a full day of birding. Your sightings should be broken up between the sites that you visit as much as possible. We want to avoid lists that place seabirds on mountain tops, or highland birds on ocean beaches. Good rule of thumb—if you need to drive to your next birding location, make a separate list for the new site.
- Keep track of sightings in the field. While you’re out birding, try to keep track of what you see at each stop before you move on to the next birding stop. The easiest way to do this is to use the eBird app (available here) on your iPhone while in the field. If you have an Android phone, then check out BirdLog. We will soon be coming out with a version of the eBird app for Android, which will replace BirdLog. If you don’t have a smartphone, note your sightings on a piece of paper, as well as start time, distance, and any notes that you’d like to have for later. Enter sightings as soon as you are able, so that the details of your birding are fresh in your mind.
- Make every list a complete list. All you have to do is make sure that you are noting all species identified, even the common ones you already reported earlier in the day. Lists of all species identified are far more useful for scientific analysis of eBird data than lists that include just the highlight species.
- Include written details, especially for rare birds. It is great to have some written comments in your checklist, both for other people who are looking at your list and are curious about the birds you saw, and for yourself! We always enjoy looking back at lists from a few years ago and reliving those birding events – as we’re sure you do too! Make sure the supporting details for rare birds actually mention the field marks you observed, and how you eliminated similar species. An excellent article on how to write supporting details can be found here.
- Bring a camera. Cameras really help out with documenting rare birds, and these days are often small and lightweight. You can use your camera to document any rare birds that you find, and also to take photos to add to your checklists, making for some beautiful illustrated checklists such as this one.
Explore the Birding “Hotspots” in your area before going to the field. eBird’s Hotspot Explorer is a fantastic way to find out about great spots to visit for birds, and to learn more what is being seen in your area. If you do decide to go birding at an eBird hotspot, please make sure to upload your checklist to the hotspot, rather than by creating a new personal location. If you don’t go birding at a hotspot, that is great too! You can create a new location for where you went birding!
Exploring eBird Data
Well, now that you’ve submitted your bird observations, you want to learn how to look at those sightings. Do you want to view and explore the sightings that you’ve submitted, and see the lists of birds that you’ve seen? Then My eBird is the place for you. Check it out. What if you’re wondering about that park down the road, what have people seen there? Want to know about all birds seen at a location? Here you go. Maybe you just want to find a certain species, or a specific rare bird that you know people have been seeing somewhere. Then you want to know all about a specific bird—this is how.
This is only the tip of the iceberg—you can find out all of the species that you haven’t seen in a region; sign up for email notifications for rare and unusual birds; or even watch a live map of eBird submissions worldwide. All of this and much more can be found in the Explore Data section of eBird. Enjoy!
To learn more about eBird in Spanish, please check our Central American regional portal in Spanish:
Most importantly, get outside, see some birds, and contribute your sightings to global bird conservation! At the end of the day, we all share common interests that go beyond any language or cultural barriers, beyond professions, political leanings, or ways of life. We all care about birds, and we’re here to show it at eBird. Thousands of checklists are submitted each day—every one increasing our understanding of birds across the world. We look forward to seeing yours.
None of this would be possible without eBirders like you. Thank you.