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Caribbean Birders Take Note: Changes are Upon Us!

Caribbean Coot. Photo by Mario Espinosa.

Every year, new ornithological research digs deeper into furthering our understanding of the complex behaviors, distributions, morphologies, and relationships among bird species across the world. Beginning in 1886, the NACC has published the AOU Checklist of North American Birds that comprehensively catalogues bird species known to North and Middle America. Most recently, their 57th Supplement to this checklist was released in June via the AOU’s peer-reviewed scientific journal, The Auk: Ornithological Advances. Within that supplement, two species well-known to Caribbean birders have undergone important changes. Read on to find out more.

Michiel Oversteegen, August eBirder of the Month

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Please join us in congratulating Michiel Oversteegen of Oranjestad, Aruba, winner of the worldwide August 2016 eBird Challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics. Our August winner was drawn from among eligible checklists that contained 3+ images or 1+ audio files. Michiel’s name was drawn randomly from the 3,383 eBirders who achieved the August challenge threshold, submitting a total of 17,335 eligible checklists. Michiel will receive new ZEISS Conquest HD 8×42 binoculars for his eBirding efforts. We asked Michiel to tell us a little more about himself, his use of eBird, and his love of birds – read on for more. He titles his post “eBirding in paradise”—we can’t help but agree!

Explore and share your birding with eBird Profile Pages!

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320,000 eBirders and growing… You’ve looked through eBird Caribbean 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 Caribbean’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 Caribbean community. We hope these Profile Pages provide a fun new way to visualize the contributions you’ve made to eBird Caribbean 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. Read on to learn how to set up your eBird Profile Page today.

Identifying Warblers in the Caribbean

A male Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas) singing on Abaco Island, in the Bahamas. Note the bold black face mask, yellow throat and breast. Photo by Keith Salvesen.

Warblers are among the most beautiful and entertaining Caribbean birds. With about 40 regularly occurring species in the Caribbean, this wide variety of warblers provides year-round birding opportunities and challenges, and also lots of fun no matter your skill level. Want to learn how to identify these fascinating birds? These tips make observing and identifying Caribbean warblers fun and simple! Read on to learn more.

Caribbean Birders Help Set New Global Big Day Record

This Caribbean endemic Western Spindalis  (Spindalis zena) was seen by Erika Gates and the Grand Bahama Birding Group on Grand Bahama while participating in the 2016 Global Big Day. Photograph by Erika Gates/Macaulay Library.

More than one hundred Caribbean birders participated in this year’s Global Big Day, helping to set a new world record of 6,299 species, as well as set a new Global Big Day record for the Caribbean itself! In order to break the old record, birders all over the world spent the 24 hours of May 14 observing and counting as many species as possible—jointly recording over 60% of all living birds in only one day and passing the old record by 141 species! In the eBird Caribbean region1, the 428 species seen (278 in the West Indies) was 42 more than last year. By joining the Global Big Day, participants enjoyed an exciting day of birding, but also showed their support for bird conservation and citizen science in the Caribbean and around the world. Keep reading for some statistics and a few of the many highlights from Global Big Day in the Caribbean.

May Global eBirder of the Month Challenge

Merlin (Falco columbarius), one of the fastest avian predators on earth, devouring its prey. Photo by Rafy Rodriguez.

This month’s eBirder of the month challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics, is all about birding on Global Big Day! May 14th is the second Global Big Day, a global event bringing birders together around the world for a single day of team birding. In last year’s inaugural Global Big Day we noted more than 6,000 species together as a global birding community—can we surpass that this year?! The eBirder of the month will be drawn from eBirders who submit 5 or more complete no-X checklists on May 14th. Read on to learn more.

Global Big Day—get involved

West Indian Woodpecker (Melanerpes superciliaris) from Cuba. Photograph by David Hill.

Mark your calendars—six weeks from this Saturday, 14 May, is Global Big Day (GBD)! We hope you are excited and getting ready to participate in this second ever Global Big Day. Our goal with this article is to help with your local Global Big Day preparations—ensuring that you’ll be able to get the most out of eBird Caribbean and the GBD in your local area and community. After reading this, you should know how to find birds around you using eBird Caribbean, how to get your friends and fellow birders excited about participating, and how to make sure that eBird Caribbean is being as helpful as possible for you. Read on to learn more.

Global Big Day—14 May 2016

Black-faced Grassquit (Tiaris bicolor), one of 268 species found by Caribbean eBirders during the 2015 Global Big Day. Photo by Binkie van Es.

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! Read on to learn how to be a part of the second Global Big Day.

Great Backyard Bird Count—take someone birding!

Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps). Photo by Doug Weidemann.

February 12-15 (Friday through Monday) is the 19th annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC). To participate, just go birding during this timeframe and make sure to enter your checklists in eBird Caribbean. 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. For 2016, we really want the GBBC weekend to focus on sharing your knowledge with others. Do you have a friend or family member who has always wanted to go birding with you? Someone you should teach to use eBird Caribbean? Someone you think you could turn on to birds and share your sense of wonder with? Make the GBBC the weekend where you pick up the phone and invite him or her along.

February eBirder of the Month Challenge

Blue-headed Quail-Dove (Starnoenas cyanocephala). Photograph by Lisa Sorenson.

This month’s global eBirder of the month challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics, focuses on the mobile world. As of December 2015, eBird Mobile is available for FREE on both iOS and Android devices. eBird Mobile makes in-the-field data entry just a few taps away, no matter where you are in the world. Increased use of mobile provides greatly improved accuracy in counting, precise location selection, and overall birding effort information. And, no more data entry when you get home at the end of the day! The eBirder of the month will be drawn from eBirders who submit at least 15 complete no-X checklists using eBird Mobile in February. Winners will be notified by the 10th of the following month.