We are pleased to discuss an exciting collaboration with BirdLife International, a leading global organization for the protection of birds worldwide. Through a partner-based approach, they deliver bird conservation at the regional, country, and local levels. The familiar Important Bird Area program was started by BirdLife and has been a powerful conservation tool to identify and protect the areas that are most important for birds. BirdLife hosted the WorldBirds program up through 2014, and this provided a way to collect bird checklists from around the planet even before eBird went global in 2010. We are excited to announce that BirdLife and eBird have been collaborating for the past couple years to consolidate bird sighting data from the Americas and beyond.
Spring has arrived in North America, and we’ll be featuring the BirdCast migration forecasts weekly to keep you up to date with what birds are arriving in your area. If you want to know what species of migrant birds will be showing up in your neck of the woods on any given week throughout the migration season, this is the place to look! These updates will also be posted on the eBird Facebook and Twitter pages – by following those pages you can get the same information delivered to your social media platform of choice. The BirdCast forecast highlights migrant species that you can expect to see in each of the regions covered: Upper Midwest and Northeast; Gulf Coast and Southeast; Great Plains; and West. Below are links to each of the regions, where you can see what to expect in your backyard or favorite birding spot! All of these forecasts are generated entirely with your eBird data, and wouldn’t be possible without eBirders like you! Thank you!
Neil Hayward undertook an ABA Big Year in 2013, attempting to see more species than any other in a single year in the continental US and Canada. He at least matched the previous high of 748, and potentially exceeded it – pending the acceptance of two other species! Read on for a well-written detailed account of how his year went, and how modern technologies like eBird contributed to his success. We would like to thank Neil for his excellent recounting of his 2013 Big Year, and for taking the time to author this article for us. Enjoy!
Spring has arrived in North America, as hard as that can be to believe in the northern regions of the continent. However, the BirdCast Regional Migration Forecasts have begun – and that means the birds can’t be far behind! Do you want to know what species of migrant birds will be showing up in your neck of the woods on any given week throughout the migration season? If so, tune in to BirdCast on Fridays for a weekly update on the Species on the Move in your region! These updates will also be posted on the eBird Facebook and Twitter pages – by following those pages you can get the same information! The BirdCast forecast highlights migrant species that you can expect to see in each of the regions covered: West; Great Plains; Upper Midwest and Northeast; and Gulf Coast and Southeast.
Here are links to each of the regions, where you can see what to expect in your backyard or favorite birding spot! All of these forecasts are generated with your eBird data, and wouldn’t be possible without eBirders like you!
Please join us in congratulating Judy Groskind of Carterville, IL, winner of the February 2015 eBird Challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optic. Our February winner was drawn from among those who submitted at least 20 complete checklists from a single patch in the month of February. Judy entered 24 complete checklists, and her name was drawn randomly from the over 600 eBirders who achieved the patch checklist threshold. Judy will receive new ZEISS Conquest HD 8×42 binoculars for her eBirding efforts. Her first response when notified that she had won was: “I’m so thrilled to win the binoculars. (The eyecup on mine is held on with duct tape, as I couldn’t bear to be without them for long enough to send them for repair.)” May these new ones serve you well, Judy! We asked Judy to tell us a little more about herself, her use of eBird, and her love of birds…
In 2015, Noah Strycker is attempting to become the first person to see 5,000 species of birds—about half of the avian species on Earth—in one calendar year! Noah is a little over two months through 365 straight days of birding around the globe, with an itinerary covering 34 countries and all seven continents, on one continuous, all-out, global birding trip. To date he has covered Antarctica and much of South America, tallying 1390 species. Noah is using eBird to keep track of his sightings and to help strategize during his quest, as well as to connect with many other birders as he travels. You can see his daily blog accounts on Birding Without Borders. He has been kind enough to write up a summary of his travels on a monthly basis – his recounting of February can be found below!
This month’s eBirder of the month challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics, focuses on waterfowl! Across much of the globe, March heralds the initial travels of ducks, geese, and swans between their winter haunts and breeding grounds. To help us learn more about the patterns of these migrations worldwide, the challenge this month involves submitting checklists with waterfowl on them. We define waterfowl as any species listed under the “Waterfowl” subheading in your eBird checklist during the submission process (families Anseranatidae and Anatidae). The eBirder of the month will be drawn from eBirders who submit at least 20 complete checklists that contain one or more species of waterfowl. Winners will be notified by the 10th of the following month.
As temperatures creep above freezing and crocuses push through thawing earth on southern lawns, a sea change in avian behavior also begins, as many of our winter residents prepare for the long northward journey to their breeding grounds. For the second year in a row, many birders will spend these spring months searching for a historically unheralded black bird that squeaked, chucked, and gurgled through wooded wetlands and agricultural fields in the southeastern United States during the winter months. Soon, this much-overlooked bird will begin its spring migration to remote wetlands nestled within boreal forests of northern North America, and thousands of eBirders will document this journey. Of course, this bird, with its rust-tipped feathers and squeaky-hinge song, is the Rusty Blackbird, a species that represents both a conservation challenge and an environmental mystery. The Rusty Blackbird Spring Migration Blitz urges birders to find and report this bird to support an international initiative to conserve this enigmatic and vulnerable songbird.
Back in the earlier days of the eBird project, there were several “Range Map quiz” features, where you figured out the species at hand from nothing but an image of the eBird Species Map. This was a popular item at the time, and we are pleased to announce its return! This is intended to be a regular feature, and we hope that you enjoy the challenge. This first quiz will be posted here on the front page, but all future range map quizzes will be announced on the eBird Facebook and Twitter pages – more details below.
We are pleased to introduce a new periodic series in eBird – the eBird Featured Hotspot. This is intended as a means to highlight an eBird Hotspot somewhere on the globe, showcasing a location that illustrates an area of conservation concern, exemplary birding opportunities, or interesting research. Hotspots are public birding locations created by eBird users, and are used to centralize the sightings in an area. Hotspots do not have to be incredible birding locations, instead they are simply public locations that may be worth visiting. You can read more about Hotspots in our Help Center Hotspot article. If you have an idea for a future Hotspot to feature, please email us with your suggestion. This month’s eBird Featured Hotspot is on the Indiana Dunes Longshore Count Project, a research project conducted by Indiana Dunes State Park in Chesterton, Indiana, US!