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Birding in the 21st Century.

News and Features

Counting 102—birds at feeders

Northern Cardinal

A couple years ago we published the Counting 101 and Counting 201 articles, tutorials for how to more effectively and accurately count birds that you’re seeing. Counting 101 focuses on the basics—how to keep track of birds throughout a birding outing, and how to count a flock in parts to estimate the total. Counting 201 takes this a step further, dealing with large numbers and flocks of birds in motion. Counting 102 is intended to take these counting best practices and apply them to feeder birding—a slightly different counting problem, but an important one to address. For anyone who has wondered how best to count and eBird the birds visiting you feeder—this article is for you.

Great Backyard Bird Count—take someone birding!


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. 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? 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.

Kathy Lopez, January eBirder of the Month

Kathy Lopez before releasing a Cooper's Hawk at the Intermountain Bird Observatory

Please join us in congratulating Kathy Lopez of Nampa, Idaho, winner of the January 2016 eBird Challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optic. Our January winner was drawn from among those who submitted at least 31 eligible checklists in January. Kathy’s name was drawn randomly from the 3,208 eBirders who achieved the January challenge threshold. Kathy will receive new ZEISS Conquest HD 8×42 binoculars for her eBirding efforts. We asked Kathy to tell us a little more about herself, her use of eBird, and her love of birds – read on for more!

Dream job? Come work at eBird and Cornell!

American Tree Sparrow

There are also currently four positions open to become a part of the eBird technical team: a Principal Web Service Developer and a Web Service Developer, a Data Service Developer-Administrator, and a DevOps Engineer. Come to the Cornell Lab and be a part of the future of birding and bird information, building resources to support science and conservation worldwide. If you or anyone you know might be interested in any of these positions, please see and share the full list of positions.

Merlin Project Coordinator position available

Prairie Warbler

Merlin is one of the most popular bird identification apps in the world. Help coordinate the development of next-generation bird identification tools, using cutting edge technologies like computer vision, and help bring these new tools to millions of users. Merlin provides the answer that so many people are looking for: what bird am I seeing? When combined with the data collection resources of eBird, the future potential of Merlin’s identification and eBird’s information is massive. With the continual improvement of computer vision and deep learning processes, Merlin will be able to leverage hundreds of thousands of images of birds in developing tools that will allow for automatic identification of bird images, and who knows what else! The future is exciting, and we want you to be a part of it. Official Cornell Job Description here—apply within

February eBirder of the Month Challenge

Bohemian Waxwing

This month’s 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.

Spring Field Ornithology Online


For 40 years, people living around Ithaca, New York, have learned about bird identification and sharpened their field skills with this 8-week course taught by renowned birders and ornithologists. Now anyone can get in on the learning and the fun, watching lectures and taking bird ID quizzes online. Starts March 24, 2016. Learn more about the online course. Do you live in Central New York? Find out how to take the course in person, including weekly field trips.

Note: The identification sections of this course focus on birds of northeastern North America.

Noah’s 2015 World Big Year Summary

Noah's very last bird of the year (though not a new year bird) was this Oriental Bay-Owl in northeast India on Dec 31; this may be the first in-the-wild photo ever taken of the species in India!

In 2015, Noah Strycker undertook the “biggest year ever” for birding: traveling through 41 countries as he encountered 6,042 species of birds in a single calendar year—surpassing the previous record by more than 1,500 species. Noah blogged daily about his travels, and many thousands of birders followed his trials and tribulations through the course of 2015. He was also kind enough to write up monthly summaries for eBird, which we featured throughout the year. This is his final summary—the complete wrap-up of 2015 according to Noah Strycker. Read on to see more photos and also learn how Noah used eBird for all of his big year sightings. Thank you Noah, and congratulations on your amazing year!

Citizen Science Reveals Annual Bird Migrations Across Continents

See the full map animation here

For the first time, scientists at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology have documented migratory movements of bird populations spanning the entire year for 118 species throughout the Western Hemisphere. The study finds broad similarity in the routes used by specific groups of species—vividly demonstrated by a brand new animated map showing patterns of movement across the annual cycle. The results of these analyses were published today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. Read on to see the animated map, and learn more about the published work.

Cornell Lab of Ornithology Young Birders Event 2016

Eastern Meadowlark

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is excited to host our annual Young Birders Event, which will be held July 7 – 10, 2016 in Ithaca, New York. The Young Birders Event aims to bring together teenagers (students who will be sophomores, juniors and seniors) with a passion for birds who are interested in pursuing a career with birds. The participants will meet people who have successful careers that involve birds in a variety of ways from ornithological researchers to tour leaders, to audio specialists and computer scientists. To apply fill out the application form and return it by 15 March 2016. Sixteen young birders will be selected and notified in mid-April. Please share this information with any young birders you know! Thanks to our sponsors of the Young Birders Event: Carl Zeiss Sport Optics, Princeton University Press and the Wild Birds Unlimited at Sapsucker Woods.