Please join us in congratulating Guillermo Saborio of Santa Ana, Costa Rica, winner of the September 2017 eBird Challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics. Our September winner was drawn from eBirders who submitted 15 or more eligible checklists with flyover codes in September. Guillermo’s name was drawn randomly from the 488 eligible eBirders who achieved the September challenge threshold. Guillermo will receive new ZEISS Conquest HD 8×42 binoculars for his eBirding efforts. Read more to see Guillermo’s full story!
As one of the most striking differences in bird occurrence from year-to-year in many northern regions of the world, finch irruptions are often exciting events. Will this winter have Pine Grosbeaks dripping from the local crabapples? Will crossbills be crunching away in the conifers? Ron Pittaway’s finch forecast is always a much-anticipated read for US & Canadian birders in the fall, and this year was no different! At least partially due to drought conditions followed by a record wet spring and summer in the Northeast, this year’s cone crop looks to be perhaps a once in couple-decades event. As a result, Red Crossbills will feature prominently in this year’s flight, and to a certain extent already have, as outlined in Ron’s forecast.
Variation between observers is one of the trickiest biases to account for in observational data. If 10 birders independently walk around a park for an hour and record what they see, they’ll all have a different checklist of birds. This is not a bad thing—as long as we can understand these differences. By understanding this variation, we can ensure that every eBird checklist is as valuable as it possibly can be. Beginning birders can submit complete checklists and know that they’re still collecting valuable data, and anyone using eBird data for analysis can minimize inter-observer biases. And all you have to do is go eBirding! Thanks to lead author Ali Johnston for the below summary of her recent work on observer expertise, most recently “Estimates of observer expertise improve species distributions from citizen science data” as published in Methods in Ecology and Evolution. This new paper builds upon the 2015 paper (with Ali as co-author) that described the estimation of observer expertise by using species accumulation curves.
Have you ever wanted to learn more about how feathers evolved? The science behind birdsong? We’re excited to partner with the Cornell Lab’s Bird Academy to offer a suite of exciting educational resources in thanks for your eBirding: every eligible checklist you submit in October gives you a chance to win free access to Ornithology: Comprehensive Bird Biology Course. This is a ~$350 value with the included e-book, and we’ll have 5 copies to give away.
This month’s eBirder of the Month challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics, will keep get you snapping photos and recording bird sounds. Every time you take a photo or hold out a microphone, you’re creating an incredibly powerful piece of data. Media help document records, provide resources for learning and education, and also pave the way for future eBird and birding tools like Merlin Photo ID. The eBirder of the month will be drawn from eBirders who submit 15 or more eligible checklists in October containing at least one rated photo or sound. Checklists must be for observations during this month; not historical checklists entered during October. Winners will be notified by the 10th of the following month.
Please join us in congratulating Deborah House of Bishop, California, winner of the August 2017 eBird Challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics. Our August winner was drawn from eBirders who submitted 31 or more eligible checklists in August. Deborah’s name was drawn randomly from the 5,498 eligible eBirders who achieved the August challenge threshold. Deborah will receive new ZEISS Conquest HD 8×42 binoculars for her eBirding efforts. Read more to see Deborah’s full story!
It is with heavy hearts that we at Team eBird recognize the passing of one of our best and longest-standing contributors–Bill Pulliam. For the last decade Bill worked tirelessly to promote eBird, both in his home state of Tennessee and beyond. Bill gave countless volunteer hours to eBird as an observer, an exemplary regional editor, and mentor to new regional editors. Bill led by example by submitting lists with high precision and detail and used this as a tool in working with observers. His approach to being an eBird reviewer was always positive and he encouraged and challenged observers to increase the quality of details about sightings. Bill’s influence with observers across Tennessee is apparent in the quality of the database and with those following in his footsteps. Bill was also actively engaged in discussions about eBird development and data quality, always driving us to do better, and often providing unique and valuable perspectives that were always well-reasoned, appreciated, and delivered with class. We greatly value the input he provided to this project, and the unshakable commitment he had to what we are trying to accomplish together with eBird. Bill’s passing is a huge loss to the Tennessee birding community, and indeed to our global eBird community. However, Bill left a lasting legacy with his friends and colleagues across Tennessee, the country, and the world. He will be greatly missed by all, and our hearts go out to his family and friends.
What if, instead of buying habitat, conservationists could rent it when and where migratory birds need it most? eBird data is playing a critical role in helping make this a reality, enabling new cost-effective approaches to complementing protected areas with ‘pop-up’ wetlands. This work has just been published in Science Advances, “Dynamic conservation for migratory species.” To pinpoint where and when migrating shorebirds most need habitats in California’s Central Valley, scientists at The Nature Conservancy, Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Point Blue Conservation Science used models based on eBird data on shorebirds and NASA satellite data on surface pattern of wetlands and flooded agricultural fields.
Want to work on your bird identification skills? After you’ve mastered size and shape in the first Be a Better Birder course, color and pattern are the next best clues. We’re excited to partner with the Cornell Lab’s Bird Academy to offer a suite of educational resources in thanks for your eBirding: in September, every eligible checklist that you submit gives you a chance to win free access to the online self-paced course Be a Better Birder: Color and Pattern.
This month’s eBirder of the month challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics, will keep your eyes and ears trained upwards. As the seasons turn over in September, the movement of birds begins perhaps the best part of a birder’s year: migration. Whether you’re enjoying a northern autumn or an austral spring, things are happening! Migratory restlessness may result in local movements of 10s of kilometers, or herculean journeys that take shorebirds from the Arctic to the edge of the southern continents. The most amazing part of all of this is that you can witness it, wherever you are. The eBirder of the month will be drawn from eBirders who submit 15 or more eligible checklists in September containing at least one “Flyover” code. Checklists must be for observations during this month; not historical checklists entered during September. Winners will be notified by the 10th of the following month.