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Birding in the 21st Century.

News and Features

Karen Marshall, June eBirder of the Month

Karen resting between birds in California

Please join us in congratulating Karen Marshall of Prince George, British Columbia, winner of the June 2016 eBird Challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics. Our June winner was drawn from among those who submitted at least 20 complete checklists containing at least one breeding code during June. Karen’s name was drawn randomly from the 794 eBirders who achieved the June challenge threshold. Karen will receive new ZEISS Conquest HD 8×42 binoculars for her eBirding efforts. We asked Karen to tell us a little more about herself, her use of eBird, and her love of birds – read on for more!

Ontario Reaches One million eBird Checklists!

Common Gallinule Photo: Ron Ridout

eBird growth across Canada has been nothing short of phenomenal, particularly over the past few years as a critical mass of eBirders have joined in. This is true nowhere more than in Ontario where the first eleven years saw about 250,000 eBird checklist submissions followed by another 750,000 since the start of 2013.

Global Big Day—14 May, 2016

May 14, 2016. The second Global Big Day. We need your help to make it the biggest day of birding the world has ever seen. With less than three months until the day, it’s time to get started!

Last year, thanks to participation from eBirders worldwide, we were able to engage more than 14,000 people in 135 countries to submit almost 45,000 checklists, featuring 6,085 species of birds. All in a single day. More importantly, it introduced eBird to hundreds of new people, resulting in thousands of valuable checklists of bird sightings that are used for science and conservation worldwide. Thank you to all who participated, and we look forward to seeing many new faces joining the ranks this year!

eBird is Mobile and Global—Android is here!

eBird Android English

Android users rejoice! eBird Mobile is now available for free in the Google Play store, complementing the iOS version of the app that was released earlier this year. eBird Mobile is a single app that allows you to enter eBird observations from anywhere in the world. eBird Mobile is completely translated into 8 languages, and supports species common names in more than 20 languages. Its offline functionality even allows you to enter sightings in areas with no cell service, or when traveling abroad without Internet access. If you haven’t tried eBird Mobile yet, there is no better time! Both of these apps build off of the groundbreaking BirdLog app, initially developed by David Bell and BirdsInTheHand, LLC in 2012.

Download on the App Store

December eBirder of the Month Challenge

Great Gray Owl

This month’s eBirder of the month challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics, focuses on documenting your eBird sightings using photos and audio. As announced in early November, we are ecstatic to have our Media Upload tool available across eBird—a partnership with the Macaulay Library that now allows you to drag-and-drop your media right into any eBird checklist, archiving it in Macaulay.

Christmas Bird Count for Kids!

Kingston Junior Naturalists (2013). Photo: Anne Robertson

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 […]

eBird and Macaulay Library: next generation tools for rich media

Female Belted Kingfisher. Port Bruce, ON. Photo: Ron Ridout

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.

November eBirder of the Month Challenge

Magnolia Warbler

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.

eBird learning: new study quantifies eBirder variability and individual improvement


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).

Ron Pittaway’s Winter Finch Forecast 2015-2016

Common Redpoll Photo: Missy Mandel

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.