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New Year’s Resolution 2017: more eBirding!

The New Year is a time for fresh beginnings. As you think about your personal goals for 2017, consider stepping up your eBird use. If you visit eBird primarily to learn about sightings from others, then make 2017 the year you start contributing your own sightings. You’ll be glad that you do, because each time you enter data into eBird, its tools get better and more informative for you personally! If you are already an active eBirder, then set a new personal 2017 eBirding goal. Can you use eBird to help you find 10 new birds in 2017? What year list will you focus on? Can you visit your favorite birding spot every week of the year? Are you ready to try the 2017 eBird “Checklist-a-Day” challenge? Read more for some ideas for eBird Resolutions and how to make birding and eBird even more fun in 2017.

January eBirder of the Month Challenge

This month’s eBirder of the month challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics, gives you an excuse to get out there at the start of 2017 and see what you can find! In order to qualify as the first eBirder of the Month in 2017, all you have to do is submit one eBird checklist for each day in January. The more eyes looking, the merrier. This is a perfect way to wrap winning free binoculars into a New Year’s Resolution! The eBirder of the month will be drawn from eBirders who submit at least 31 eligible checklists in January. Winners will be notified by the 10th of the following month.

Carl Zeiss Sports Optics eBirder of the Month for 2017

We are pleased to announce the 2017 eBirder of the Month program sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics. Each month we will feature a new eBird challenge and set of selection criteria. The monthly winners will each receive a new ZEISS Conquest HD 8×42 binocular. The January contest has already been posted—give it a try today! This year we are also having the Checklist-a-day Challenge; someone that will be drawn from the group of eBirders that submits an average of one eligible checklist for every day in 2017—the checklist-a-day challenge. This eBirder will be chosen at the end of the year. Are you up to the challenge?

2017 Checklist-a-day Challenge

In 2016, eBird received more than 3.75 million complete checklists from your birding efforts. eBird thrives on the enthusiasm and engagement of tens of thousands of loyal participants worldwide who reliably enter their birding forays in eBird. Our most loyal eBirders go a step beyond, putting in checklists from short yard counts, lunchtime walks, or a quick stop to scan their favorite local patch. Our challenge to you in 2017 is to see if you can submit at least one checklist a day—for the entire year. At the end of the year we will draw three winners from among those who submitted at least 365 eligible checklists in 2017. Let us know what you find on social media using #ebird365. Read more below.

eBird 2016 — Year in review

2017 will mark the 15 year anniversary of eBird. In just a decade-and-a-half, the bird checklists that you have shared have helped make eBird the largest citizen science biodiversity project in the world. More than 1/3 million eBirders have submitted 370 million bird sightings, representing 10,313 species from every country in the world. We are continually humbled by the amazing power and passion of the birding community, and have nothing but excitement as we look to the future of what we can do together. As we compile this list of eBird’s achievements in 2016, we are reminded that these are all truly your achievements. It is your contributions that power this knowledge engine. Every time you go out and keep a list of birds you see, you’re making a real contribution to our understanding of the world’s ever-changing avian biodiversity.

eBird & Birds of North America

In appreciation for all those who have participated in eBird, we are pleased to continue to offer special discounted subscription pricing to the acclaimed and recently updated bird life history resource: Birds of North America. This comprehensive resource includes information on distribution, breeding, migration, habitats, and behavior for over 750 different species of birds that breed in Canada and the United States. The accounts include photos and audio selections from Macaulay Library and eBird data for all species covered. For those who would like to sign-up for a new subscription or to renew a current subscription, BNA is now available at the discounted rate of $25 USD for a 1 year subscription, $50 USD for a 2 year subscription and $75 USD for a three year subscription.

Richard Kaskan, November eBirder of the Month

Please join us in congratulating Richard Kaskan of Bonita Springs, Florida, winner of the November 2016 eBird Challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics. Our November winner was drawn from eBirders who submitted at least 15 eligible eBird checklists in November that contained 1+ photos or audio recordings. Richard’s name was drawn randomly from the 748 eBirders who achieved the November challenge threshold. Richard will receive new ZEISS Conquest HD 8×42 binoculars for his eBirding efforts. We asked Richard to tell us a little more about himself, his use of eBird, and his love of birds – read on for more.

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 guidance on best practices for submitting your CBC to eBird, see these links:

Automatic photo ID—thanks to your eBirding

Bird identification can be a challenge, especially for beginning birders. While solving these challenges can be a compelling part of the fun of birding, at times it can also be frustrating. The Cornell Lab is interested in building tools to help people become better birders, and also help engage new communities around the world in the joy of birding. 

Imagine if everyone who carried a smartphone or digital camera was one shutter click away from identifying a bird? For 650 species, this is now a reality. Last week, the Merlin team released Photo ID—a new feature in the free Merlin app that provides real-time, offline, bird identification. Of course, you should still double-check the results from the app, but we’ve found the computer to be unnervingly accurate! Download the app and see if you can stump it. The most exciting part of this is that you make it possible, thanks to your sightings, photos, and eBirding. Want to expand Merlin to more than 650 species? So do we—but we need your help! Click the full article to see how you can bring Merlin to your backyard.

Welcome eBird Malaysia!

Please join us in welcoming the eBird Malaysia portal to the eBird family—a collaboration with the Wild Bird Club Malaysia that will allow us to work together to bring more birding resources to scientists, researchers, and conservationists throughout the country and world. They’ve already got some great content up on tricky topics like barbet identification in Peninsular Malaysia—check it out here