This month’s eBirder of the month challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optic, encourages birders to explore new hotspots in their area. In September 2013 we released the Hotspot Explorer. The Hotspot Explorer provides a powerful way to access site-based data summaries, and is very helpful for planning trips to the best birding places. But for those who want to contribute a lot to eBird, the Hotspot Explorer also provides great tools to help you to find under-birded areas where your contributions will have the biggest impact. Below we give some tips on how to use the Hotspot Explorer to find under-birded hotspots near you. This month’s eBirder of the Month prize binocular will be drawn from those who have submitted at least one effort-based (i.e., not Incidental) complete checklist from each of 20 different hotspots this month. You can choose your own hotspots, but we hope you will focus on some that have very little activity for March.
Canada is a huge country and the geographic variation exhibited by our birds can be substantial. Perhaps no species displays a greater variability across the continent than the familiar Red-tailed Hawk. Sorting through the various subspecies of this well-known raptor can be a challenge for birders of all skill levels.
The least known (and least eBirded) seems to be the Northern Red-tailed Hawk. Jon Ruddy of Ottawa has put together an excellent summary which will hopefully encourage eBirders in eastern Canada to start watching for and reporting their observations of this beautiful bird!
February 14-17 (Friday to Monday) is the 17th annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC). To participate, just go birding during this timeframe and make sure to enter your checklists in eBird. The GBBC was one of the first demonstrations that the internet could be used to collect bird checklists and was instrumental in the creation of eBird back in 2002. If you aren’t already excited about this weekend, this story gives some reasons why we think you should be. Working as a team, can we find 50% of the birds in the world on this single weekend?
Rock Pigeon will disappear from most checklists this week, and Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) will remain as the option to use in most of the world. Since eBird is a global system it needs to be consistent throughout the world. In the Old World, where Rock Pigeon is native, most observers draw distinctions between Feral Pigeons (city pigeons, typically with non-wild plumage phenotypes) and ‘wild type’ Rock Pigeons. The latter have become quite rare in many areas, so reporting them as “Rock Pigeon (Wild type)” is of interest. In most of the world, however, Rock Pigeons are derived from captive stock and should be reported as “Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)” to make this distinction. This includes all Rock Pigeons in the Americas, Australia, sub-Saharan Africa, many islands, and many other areas where Rock Pigeons are restricted to urban and agrarian areas and where Wild type Rock Pigeons do not occur.
Birdwatchers from more than 100 countries are expected to participate in the 17th annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), February 14-17, 2014. Around the globe, tens of thousands of volunteers – of all ages and birding skill levels – will count birds in backyards, local parks, nature reserves, and wherever they happen to be. This free, family-friendly educational activity is loads of fun and supports bird conservation!
We are excited to introduce you to Merlin Bird ID, an app that leverages the power of eBird observations to help beginners identify common birds. Merlin uses eBird data to create a short list of birds that match the user’s description and are likely to be found at the location and time of the sighting. If you find yourself leading bird walks, working in public outreach, or sharing your love of birds with friends and neighbors, please check out Merlin and help spread the word. Read on to find out more.
Changes will be happening over the next week with how eBird users report Rock Pigeons. Most checklists will now contain Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) as an option. Since eBird is a global system it needs to be consistent throughout the world. In the Old World, where Rock Pigeon is native, most observers draw distinctions between Feral Pigeons (city [...]
Team eBird is pleased to once again host Ron Pittaway’s Winter Finch Forecast. While the focus of this piece is on Ontario, we believe it has interest to a wider audience. The forecast was first posted at http://www.jeaniron.ca/2013/forecast.htm. GENERAL FORECAST: This is not an irruption (flight) year for winter finches, but there will be some southward [...]
For the first time birders can explore eBird’s site information in a map-based tool designed to provide quick access to the information they need. Discover the best places for birding nearby or around the world. The Hotspot Explorer provides a completely new way to plan birding trips, putting millions of records from over 100,000 eBirders [...]
A new tool for birdwatchers and eBird participants has just been made available in Avibase, a web site managed by Denis Lepage and hosted by Bird Studies Canada. The new section of the site is called MyAvibase and allows birdwatchers to maintain their own life lists and generate reports that can help planning their next birding trip. Birdwatchers can use maps and graphs to quickly see how many species can be found in a given region and at various times of year, for instance. Once their own lifelists are imported in Avibase, they can also view how many new species (lifers) they could potentially add on a trip and decide when and where to go for that next great birding adventure!