eBird Mobile for iOS took a big step forward this week: the ability to automatically record ‘tracks’ that map precisely where you go eBirding. Every time you start a checklist on eBird Mobile on Android or iOS, you can now keep a GPS track of where you go for your traveling counts. The ‘tracks’ automatically calculate distance traveled and time spent eBirding—all you have to do is watch birds! This is an important new chapter in eBird, opening the door for many exciting new future tools: improved research that can use the actual path you birded, eBird data outputs that show the precise path of any given checklist, and much more. Plus, it makes your birding even easier. Try eBird Mobile today.
We are looking for a talented and creative software engineer to work with the eBird and Macaulay Library teams at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. In the last two years, more than 5 million images and 100,000 audio recordings have been uploaded to eBird and incorporated into flagship projects at the Cornell Lab including Merlin, Birds of North America, and All About Birds. There are incredible projects on the horizon, building upon these tools for the community. We are looking for a full stack developer with Java experience to join us in Ithaca. Learn more and apply.
Bird populations are at risk all around the world. As of 2015, BirdLife International assessed that 13% of bird species are threatened with extinction. eBird collects site-specific data on these birds—as well as the other 9500 bird species in the world—and this is a great benefit to birders, researchers, and conservationists around the world. We cannot protect the species we care about without knowing where and when they occur. However, these site-level data can also put certain species at incredible risk. Fine-scale site information can be used by hunters and trappers to target certain species. eBird has a responsibility to protect the specific locations of these species so that the data are not used to exploit these birds. Our new Sensitive Species initiative provides this protection.
Two years ago this week, eBird changed forever—giving you the ability to add photos and audio directly to your checklists and archive them in the Macaulay Library (ML). Thanks to the contributions of tens of thousands of eBirders, the ML multimedia archive now contains more than 5 million digital specimens—photos, audio, and video—representing more than 9,500 species of birds and thousands of other animal species. These resources have built new eBird tools like the Illustrated Checklist, form the backbone of the Merlin Bird ID app, and will be a crucial part of new innovation in the future. Stay tuned for a new photo ID helper built into the eBird checklist process… Thanks to the Macaulay Library team for this roundup of the new tools for eBirders.
With winter coming in the northern reaches of the world, it’s duck season for many. This brings all sorts of fun ID challenges—from teal to scaup and beyond. 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: in November, every eligible checklist that you submit gives you a chance to get free access to Be a Better Birder: Duck and Waterfowl Identification.
Every year from sunset on September 11th to sunrise on September 12th, the lights of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum’s Tribute in Light are turned on in remembrance of the lives lost during the terrorist attacks of September 11th 2001. Beams from eighty-eight 7500-watt bulbs cast light skyward in two towering pillars as high as the eye can see, noticeable for a 100-mile radius around New York City. And it’s not just people that take notice: nocturnally migrating birds are attracted and disoriented by the lights. At times a close look can reveal tens of thousands ceaselessly circling through the beams. In a new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), “High-intensity urban light installation dramatically alters nocturnal bird migration,” authors from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Oxford University, and New York City Audubon quantify the impact of this light installation on nocturnally migrating birds using radar, acoustics, and visual counts archived on eBird. Read more.
This month’s eBirder of the Month challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics, encourages precise eBirding. The eBirder of the Month will be drawn from eBirders who submit 3 or more eligible checklists in one day in November. Each day with 3 or more eligible checklists is one chance to win.
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!
Red Crossbills are predicted to move south in significant numbers this year—check out this article to learn fun facts and ID tips for these enigmatic birds. Finch irruptions are often exciting events, enticing birders with crossbills be crunching away in the conifers, and the potential for additional fun like Pine Grosbeaks dripping from the local crabapples. Ron Pittaway’s finch forecast is always a much-anticipated read for US & Canadian birders in the fall, and this year is 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.
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.