Do you know a budding young birder? Interested in connecting youth to birds and nature? The Christmas Bird Count for Kids (CBC4Kids) may be for you! The CBC4Kids is a fun, family-friendly winter birdwatching event, based on the traditional Christmas Bird Count. The goal is to connect youth with the natural world, and mentor the […]
It’s no surprise that birders are a visual and aural community—after all, we spend most of our time searching for birds by sight and sound. Millions of birders around the world now carry cameras into the field, and many people also record bird sounds using smartphones. Until now, this rich resource of bird photos and sounds has been scattered across disparate resources, or in the worst cases has not been captured at all. Using the data collection power of eBird, and the long-term curation and archival capabilities of the Macaulay Library, we’ve created a home at the Cornell Lab for this next generation of bird information. Leveraging the strengths of both projects, we’ve developed a scientific foundation and a streamlined process for collecting rich media that provides a long-term, open data resource searchable by birders and scientists alike—a real-time, digital natural history collection. And did we forget to mention, it’s incredibly fun? Through a simple drag-and-drop process, it is now easy to illustrate your eBird checklists with photos and audio files, not only providing documentation for your bird records, but also creating a visual and audio tapestry of what you’re encountering in the field, and easily share it with others.
This month’s eBirder of the month challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics, focuses on repeatedly birding the same area. To date, eBirders have submitted more than 275 million observations of birds, from 2.87 million separate locations across every country. Many of these locations have just one or two checklists—giving us a baseline for the bird community there, but not as comprehensive knowledge as we’d like. With repeated visits to a spot, we can learn so much about how the birds using that location change across seasons and years. Having repeated “sampling” at a location is very powerful for scientific analysis. This repeated sampling is similar to what you might do every year for the Christmas Bird Count, and is very valuable for eBird analyses. Do you like the animated maps of bird movements? This is how we create these—read the full article for a brand new map, never before shown. The eBirder of the month will be drawn from eBirders who submit at least 15 complete no-X checklists from the same eBird location during November. Winners will be notified by the 10th of the following month.
The 272 million records in eBird come from more than 200,000 different individual birders. Each of us has a different birding style, different eBirding habits, different bird identification strengths by sight and sound, and a different focus when in the field (some of us are always looking up for raptors, while others watch for sparrows underfoot.) Some sources of variation in detection—from variation in effort, habitat, date, and time of day—are already accounted for in our analyses. However, until now our analyses have not accounted for the one of the greatest sources of variation: the birder. We recently devised a metric for quantifying differences among birders, and a newly-published paper describes the use of the method, as well as showing that with more time spent birding, as measured by the number of eBird checklists a birder enters, the more proficient they become. The paper, “Can Observation Skills of Citizen Scientists Be Estimated Using Species Accumulation Curves”, is published in PLoS ONE and available to everyone (Kelling et al. 2015).
Each year Ron Pittaway researches and writes a forecast of the movements of winter finches in the upcoming winter. This forecast is centered on Ontario populations, but has wide applicability across Canada. Ron has graciously allowed us to copy his forecast in full for the education of eBird enthusiasts across the country.
Please join us in congratulating David Fraser of Victoria, British Columbia, winner of the July 2015 eBird Challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optic. Our July winner was drawn from among those who submitted at least 15 complete checklists shared with other eBirders during July. David’s name was drawn randomly from the 989 eBirders who achieved the July challenge threshold. David will receive new ZEISS Conquest HD 8×42 binoculars for his eBirding efforts. We asked David to tell us a little more about himself, his use of eBird, and his love of birds – read on for more!
We would like to invite you to download the new eBird free iOS app for data entry. You can find the app at this link in iTunes:
In 2012, David Bell’s company BirdsInTheHand, LLC, released a mobile app called ‘BirdLog’, on Android and iOS devices. This app revolutionized the way birders recorded information in the field, and was the first and only app to tie directly into your eBird account for data entry. The app became so critical to eBird, that in 2014 the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and David Bell reached an agreement to transfer development and management the app to the eBird team at Cornell. All current iterations of BirdLog will be sunsetted in the near future, so it is important to make the switch to eBird mobile as soon as possible. Read on to learn more about the transition.
Bird Studies Canada challenges you to join the 2015 Great Canadian Birdathon.
This spring, the time you spend birding can help the birds. Participating is easy: simply register, ask your friends and family to support your effort, choose any day in May and go birding. The funds you raise support bird conservation across Canada. We thank all our Birdathon participants for raising awareness and funds to help birds!
Please join us in congratulating Greg Wagner of High River, Alberta, winner of the March 2015 eBird Challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optic. Our March winner was drawn from among those who submitted at least 20 complete checklists containing one or more species of waterfowl in the month of March. Greg’s name was drawn randomly from the 2,096 eBirders who achieved the waterfowl challenge threshold. Greg will receive new ZEISS Conquest HD 8×42 binoculars for his eBirding efforts. We asked Greg to tell us a little more about himself, his use of eBird, and his love of birds – read on for more!
We’re pleased to announce the launch of eBird Targets–a new tool that creates a prioritized list of county, state, or life birds that you can expect to find in a region. Enter a region, range of months, and then select the list you’d like to compare. eBird compares your selected list against the full species list for the selected region and months, creating a target species list that can be sorted taxonomically or by frequency (the percentage of checklists that have reported the species). Each time you submit a checklist to eBird, a geo-referenced tag is created that allows you to keep track of your lists on the My eBird pages. From the simple life list to very focused region-based year lists, eBird Targets allows birders to play the games they find most interesting while creating more and better data for science.