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eBirding your Christmas Bird Count

Christmas Bird Count (CBC) season is upon us again! This is a great time to join others and cooperate in a massive effort across the Western Hemisphere to take a snapshot of bird occurrence around the holidays. For three weeks each year (14 December to 5 January) tens of thousands of birders head out to conduct the Audubon CBC. These counts are cooperative efforts to get the best count of birds in a single 15-mile diameter circle. They depend upon the efforts of multiple parties of observers each checking different parts of the count circle. Compilers add the efforts of the various teams together and assemble a final count total, which can be compared to totals for the past 117 years to understand changes in bird populations. eBird collects data at a finer scale and from single parties of birders, and eBird Mobile makes it easy to keep your tallies through the day. We invite each group to submit their single-party lists to eBird. For more guidance on best practices for submitting your CBC to eBird, click on this story.

December eBirder of the Month Challenge

This month’s eBirder of the Month challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics, encourages precise eBirding through eBird Mobile. On iOS and Android, the free eBird Mobile app allows you to ‘track’ your checklists using GPS—providing unprecedented detail in your eBird checklists on where exactly you went birding. You can just focus on birding, and let the app do the work!  The eBirder of the Month will be drawn from eBirders who submit 15 or more eligible checklists with eBird Mobile ‘tracks’ in December. Checklists must be for observations during this month; not historical checklists entered during November. Winners will be notified by the 10th of the following month.

December Bird Academy giveaway: Raptor ID

Winter is a great time for raptors, with some species like Rough-legged Hawk and Northern Goshawk only moving into some areas in winter. As wonderful as hawks are, they can be bewilderingly similar, and highly variable! 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 December, every eligible checklist that you submit gives you a chance to get free access to Be a Better Birder: Hawk and Raptor Identification.

How to report backtracking distance in eBird

Distance within eBird should be the unique distance you covered along a trail, road, or water body, whether by foot, bike, car, kayak, or some even more adventurous means of moving across the landscape. If you submit a single checklist for an out-and-back birding event, only report the one-way distance. Shorter distance checklists are strongly preferred, ideally 1 kilometer or less, but do your best to keep it under 8 kilometers (5 miles). eBird Mobile tracks make this easier than ever. 

Dylan Pedro, October eBirder of the Month

Please join us in congratulating Dylan Pedro of Waterford, Connecticut, winner of the October 2017 eBird Challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics. Our October winner was drawn from eBirders who submitted 15 or more eligible checklists with media that had 1 or more ratings in October. Dylan’s name was drawn randomly from the 3,048 eligible eBirders who achieved the October challenge threshold. Dylan will receive new ZEISS Conquest HD 8×42 binoculars for his eBirding efforts. Read more to see Dylan’s full story!

eBird iOS—automatic tracks available!

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.

Software Engineer needed

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.

Sensitive Species in eBird

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.

New Macaulay Library media search, specimen pages

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.

November Bird Academy giveaway: Waterfowl ID

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.