Please join us in congratulating Alexander Skevington of Constance Bay, Ontario, winner of the October 2014 eBird Challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optic. Alexander’s name was drawn randomly from the more than 4300 people who submitted a stationary count of at least 1 hour duration in October. Alexander will receive a new ZEISS Conquest HD 8×42 binocular and a selection of books from Princeton University Press. We asked Alexander to tell us a little more about himself, his use of eBird, and his love of birds below.
We’re pleased to announce the launch of eBird Targets–a new tool that creates a prioritized list of county, state, or life birds that you can expect to find in a region. Enter a region, range of months, and then select the list you’d like to compare. eBird compares your selected list against the full species list for the selected region and months, creating a target species list that can be sorted taxonomically or by frequency (the percentage of checklists that have reported the species). Each time you submit a checklist to eBird, a geo-referenced tag is created that allows you to keep track of your lists on the My eBird pages. From the simple life list to very focused region-based year lists, eBird Targets allows birders to play the games they find most interesting while creating more and better data for science.
In early October, the Louisiana State University Museum of Natural Science fielded a birding team in Peru with the goal of raising funds to support museum-based research, and the hope of breaking the world big day record (the record for the most bird species seen in a single day). On 14 October, they surpassed the prior big day record of 331 with an astounding 354 bird species! eBird played a key role in this effort, both by providing a resource of scouting information, as well as a home for the data collected by the team in their tremendous effort. Join us in congratulating them, celebrating their research efforts, and supporting their team. Read more about this record-breaking big day below.
The Information Science Program at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology is currently seeking an eBird Project Assistant. This position will assist with all aspects of the eBird project. Please read through the entire position description for duties, required qualifications, and preferred qualifications. This position is based in Ithaca, New York. Don’t let the photo at right mislead you–that is a vacation day, not work.
Reminder: Our November and December Zeiss eBirders of the Month will be selected from eBirders who submit at least 75 locations by the end of November (November winner), and those who submit at least 500 complete checklists by the end of December (December winner). More details are included below. Thanks to Zeiss, Princeton University Press and all of our eBird users for making this our best year ever.
Along the Pacific Flyway, California’s Central Valley plays a key role in providing habitat for millions of migrating and wintering waterbirds. But this wetland habitat is fast disappearing, with original wetlands converted to agriculture and development, and more recently, agricultural practices that once provided some wetland habitat for birds (e.g., rice farming) are now losing ground to more permanent crops such as nuts, fruits, and wine grapes. The Nature Conservancy in California is taking a novel approach to solving this problem with their BirdReturns project. Using eBird data, TNC is able to identify high priority areas of importance for birds during key periods in their annual cycles. This ‘dynamic conservation’ approach allows TNC to spread scarce conservation dollars across a broader geographic footprint to ‘rent’ habitat for waterbirds at the times of the year when they most need it. Learn more about this novel approach, and how eBird is playing a key role in its success.
Please join us in congratulating Maggie Smith of Arroyo Grande, California, winner of the September 2014 eBird Challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optic. Maggie’s name was drawn randomly from the 726 people who submitted at least twenty checklists from their patch during September. Maggie will receive a new ZEISS Conquest HD 8×42 binocular and a selection of books from Princeton University Press. We asked Maggie to tell us a little more about her patch birding below.
As days shorten and cooler temperatures descend, we are pleased to welcome one of our Autumn highlights: Ron Pittaway’s Winter Finch Forecast. While 2012-2013 was an epic finch flight, last winter (2013-2014) was the winter of no finch movements. Fortunately, this winter will be better than last! Here’s the forecast: This winter’s theme is a “mixed bag” of finch movements. For example, some species such as Purple Finch will go south while White-winged Crossbills will likely stay in the boreal forest in widely separated areas where spruces are laden with cones. Common Redpolls should move into southern Canada and the northern states because birch seed crops are thin to average across the north. See individual finch forecasts below for details.
This month’s eBirder of the month challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optic, focuses on migration birding. October is a spectacular month for migration around the world. At certain places, geography and weather conspire to concentrate migrants in huge numbers. While migration is most visible at these great concentration points, many birds move in a broad front across the interior of continents during October, and birders everywhere can do a great job of capturing this by entering their data into eBird. The idea behind this competition is to look for signs of visible migration at your favorite birding sites by conducting stationary counts of at least 1 hour duration, and recording all high flying migrants as ‘fly-overs’ on each checklist you submit. Each 1-hr+ stationary count will be entered into a pool of checklist submissions, from which the winning checklist will be drawn. So the more of these you do, the more likely you are to win. Winners will be notified by the 10th of the following month. Read on to find out more.
A lot has happened since our July 2014 article on “eBird’s Missing Species.” Shortly after our article was published, the August 2014 taxonomic update (which follows version 6.9 of the Clements Checklist) added 35 new species to the missing species list, mostly resulting from species splits. And over the past 45 days, dozens of birders have stepped up to enter records of the rare and little-known species that we highlighted. Thanks to your efforts, 92 species were added to eBird for the first time! That said, there’s still a lot of work to be done and 330 species still lack a valid record in eBird. For your enjoyment and inspiration, this article highlights the progress we’ve made and what has yet to be reported.