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Birding in the 21st Century.

News and Features

Shorebird Migration

Do you know which species of shorebird this is? Least Sandpiper (Calidris minutilla) photographed by Ted Lee Eubanks.

It’s shorebird migration season again! With millions of shorebirds flying south from the arctic (and other northern places), it’s time to welcome the first migrants of fall 2014 to the Caribbean. As a group, shorebirds are one of the Caribbean’s most important and abundant migrants. And during migration, every day can bring new birds to your favorite shorebird habitat. To help you enjoy this year’s shorebirds, here are some suggestions and tips from eBird Caribbean.

Pelagic Birding with eBird Caribbean

Brown Noddy (Anous stolidus), a Caribbean pelagic seabird. Photograph by Ted Lee Eubanks.

Did you know that large portions of the Caribbean Sea have never (or almost never) been visited by birders? It’s true; the largest habitat in the Caribbean is the open ocean or pelagic zone, containing many species rarely found in other areas, yet it is also the least birded. Interested in taking your birding adventures to the sea? Want to learn more about pelagics and pelagic birding? This article is for you.

eBird Preferences – species names, Top 100, and more

On the top left of most eBird Caribbean pages is a little link that you may not have noticed labelled Preferences. This is where you can customize how species names appear in eBird Caribbean – whether you want common names, scientific names, or both. The default English names follow the Clements Checklist, but you can change the common names (6 versions of English, 9 versions of Spanish, French, Icelandic, Turkish, and Chinese to name a few) as well. You can subscribe to our eBird Newsletter, allow checklist comments to be public, and decide whether or not to participate in the Top 100. This short article discusses these options in eBird Caribbean Preferences and how they can be set to better customize your eBird Caribbean experience.

Presenting the Second 2014 eBird Caribbean Binocular Contest

Magnificent Frigatebirds (Fregata magnificens). Photograph by Ted Lee Eubanks.

Thanks to the generation donations and assistance of our partners BirdsCaribbean, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and Carl Zeiss Sports Optics, eBird Caribbean is, for the first time, awarding a number of great prizes to eBird Caribbean participants through several eBirding contests this year. We still have one pair of Conquest HD Zeiss Binoculars to give away. Will you be the next winner? Click on the article to get the full contest details.

Announcing the 2014 Caribbean Waterbird Census Contest Winners

Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes), one of the waterbirds recorded during this year's CWC. Photo by Ted Lee Eubanks.

eBird Caribbean in partnership with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Carl Zeiss Sports Optics, and BirdsCaribbean is excited to announce the results of the 2014 Caribbean Waterbird Census (CWC) and introduce the grand prize winner of the 2014 CWC contest. The 2014 fourth annual CWC has been a great success so far. Click here to read about the results and find out who are contest winners are!

The BirdLog app—eBirding with your Smartphone

The location selection screen from the the BirdLog app. Image used with permission of Birds In the Hand, the makers of BirdLog.

If you love your smartphone and are an eBird Caribbean participant, the new BirdLog app from the makers of BirdsEye will fundamentally change eBird data entry for you and the way you interact with the eBird Caribbean database. Now, for the first time, it is possible to collect bird observations in the field as you are birding, and then submit them directly to eBird Caribbean as soon as you finish. No longer does one need to record birds in a notebook and then transcribe the notes into eBird Caribbean when they get back home to their computers. In effect, it makes data entry twice as fast since it integrates the notebook with the computer. Plus, you’ll never have to worry about forgetting to enter a checklist or procrastinate over entering lists from a long day of birding because it will already be done! Team eBird strongly recommends using this app if you have a smartphone and are hoping for an easier way to enter sightings in eBird Caribbean from the field.

Purple Gallinule Vagrancy and Caribbean Weather Patterns

Purple Gallinule (Porphyrio martinicus). Photo by Ted Eubanks

Purple Gallinules (Porphyrio martinicus) are well known as champions of long-distance vagrancy, with records from as far north as Iceland, as far south as South Georgia Island, as far west as the Galapagos Islands, and as far east as Italy and South Africa. This species, and many other rails, are habitat-based dispersalists, adapted to respond to ephemeral habitats and with the machinery to travel long distances. In late fall 2013 and winter 2014 there have been a surprising number of observations and specimens collected of this species far out of range. But why? The polar vortex? Drought? Winds? Some combination of the above? BirdCast presents an in-depth analysis that suggests that drought in the Caribbean is driving dispersal and that winds have produced generally favorable conditions for Nearctic and Neotropical vagrants to reach the Palearctic. Head over to BirdCast to read more on Purple Gallinule vagrancy in the North Atlantic.

Join the 2014 Great Backyard Bird Count

An Antillean Crested Hummingbird (Orthorhyncus cristatus) from Antigua. Photograph by David Rayner.

February 14-17 (Friday to Monday) is the 17th annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), a world-wide weekend-long bird counting effort held each winter. To participate, all you have to do is go birding during this timeframe and make sure to enter your checklists in eBird Caribbean. Last year’s GBBC resulted in an amazing tally of species and checklists, and in order to top that this year, eBird Caribbean needs everyone’s help. Read the whole article to learn more about the GBBC and how to participate in this fun event.

Join the 2014 Caribbean Waterbird Census for a Chance to Win New Binoculars

Roseate Spoonbill (Platalea ajaja), one of many waterbirds monitored by the Caribbean Waterbird Census. Photograph by Ted Lee Eubanks.

We are pleased to announce the fourth Annual Regional Caribbean Waterbird Census (CWC) Count in 2014. The 2014 CWC count will take place from Tuesday, January 14 to Monday, February 3 inclusive. Thanks to our partnership with Cornell Lab of Ornithology and a donation from Carl Zeiss Sports Optics, everyone who participates in the CWC and enters their checklists into eBird Caribbean will have a chance to win a pair of Conquest HD Zeiss binoculars through a random drawing. Read the full article for more details.

Christmas Bird Counts and eBird Caribbean

Bananaquit (Coereba flaveola), one of many species recorded on Caribbean Christmas Bird Counts. Photo by Ted Lee Eubanks.

The Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is an important long-term citizen science project that uses counts of winter birds to document population patterns. For three weeks each year (14 December to 5 January) tens of thousands of birders head out to conduct the CBC. While the majority of CBC counts are located in the United States and Canada, the Caribbean has many count locations on a number of islands and we encourage you to participate as much as possible. If you are participating (or have already participated) in a CBC this winter, we would like to request that you also enter your sightings in eBird Caribbean.