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December eBirder of the Month Challenge

Northern Saw-whet Owl by Jamin Taylor/Macaulay Library

This month’s eBirder of the Month challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics, highlights the value of splitting your day of birding into multiple lists. By keeping multiple lists throughout a morning or day of birding, the information that you’re collecting is much more valuable—both for your own personal records and for researchers and conservationists! Sound too difficult? Give it a try—it’s easier than you think, especially when you use eBird Mobile! If you’re out on a Christmas Bird Count this month, or just out on the weekend with a few friends, this is a perfect chance to take your eBirding up a notch. The eBirder of the Month will be drawn from eBirders who submit 3 or more eligible checklists in a single day in December. Each day that you submit 3 eligible checklists gives you one chance to win. Checklists must be for observations during this month, not historical checklists entered during December. Winners will be notified by the 10th of the following month.

Contribute to the Birds of North America!

Northern Shrike by Tony Varela/Macaulay Library

The updated and re-designed Birds of North America (BNA) was introduced in September, bringing a fresh look and feel as well as new resources to the classic BNA. The BNA species accounts represent the most authoritative natural history resource for North America’s breeding birds, used by thousands of birders and researchers around the world. With completion of the transition to the new BNA, we are now now working to revise many individual species accounts, which includes a search for new photos, videos and audio selections. At eBird, we continue to encourage our users to contribute high quality rich media for all species, and this is a fantastic chance for your photos to be used as the emblematic image for the species. Your reward? A free 1-year subscription to BNA, and the excitement of having thousands of people viewing your images. Read more to learn which accounts we’re revising right now.

Have you ever recorded birds in Mexico?

Black-cowled Oriole by Ian Davies / Macaulay Library

Do you have a microphone that has witnessed the call of the Rufous Sabrewing, a Belding’s Yellowthroat bewitching song, or the haunting refrain of a singing Aztec Thrush? If so, we need your help! The Merlin Bird ID app is excited to partner with CONABIO to bring Merlin’s free bird identification resources to all of Mexico! There are a few species that still need audio for the app expansion; please see the list below to see if you can make a difference.

Mini-Grants to Support Community Bird Events

Photo courtesy of Green Jay Mayan Birding

Do you work with local communities, engaging peers, youth, or the general public in the natural world through the magic of birds? You are invited to apply for a mini-grant from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology! These grants, which usually range from $100 to $750, are distributed through the Cornell Lab’s Celebrate Urban Birds project. Community events awarded a grant must include activities that combine birds, nature, the arts, and citizen science. The citizen science part is easy: participants get to watch birds in their neighborhood! Learn more.

Sheila Hale, October eBirder of the Month

Sheila birding in Tanzania

Please join us in congratulating Sheila Hale of Spruce Grove, Alberta, winner of the October 2016 eBird Challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics. Our October winner was drawn from eBirders who submitted at least 15 eligible eBird checklists in October using eBird Mobile. Sheila name was drawn randomly from the 2,348 eBirders who achieved the October challenge threshold. Sheila will receive new ZEISS Conquest HD 8×42 binoculars for her eBirding efforts. We asked Sheila to tell us a little more about herself, her use of eBird, and her love of birds – read on for more.

Teach computers to identify birds with MerlinVision

Violet-crowned Hummingbird by Patrick Van Thull/Macaulay Library

Imagine a world where you can snap a photo with your phone or camera, load it on an app, and have real-time identification in the field—even in places without an internet connection. Sound too futuristic? With your help, the future can be now. Advances in technology continually provide us with new and exciting ways to analyze the incredible dataset of bird sightings and media that has been contributed by eBirders around the globe—by you. In the coming months, we’re excited to take the first step towards automated photo identification by releasing a photo identification tool in the Merlin Bird ID app. This new tool will help birders and photographers of all skill levels to increase their field birding skills and confidence in putting a name to a bird. We want Photo ID to be as accurate as possible when it is released, and to do that we need your help!

Congratulations to David Fees, winner of the Trinidad trip

david-fees-backpacking

Congratulations to David Fees, the winner of a trip to Trinidad including two nights at the Asa Wright Nature Centre, complimentary roundtrip airfares for 2 people on JetBlue from either JFK (New York) or Fort Lauderdale, FL, tours of the Asa Wright Nature Centre property in Trinidad. and two birding field trips with Caligo Ventures. Thanks to the Asa Wright Nature Centre, JetBlue, the Trinidad and Tobago Tourism Board, and Caligo Ventures for their generous sponsorship. David’s name was drawn randomly from among all eligible checklists submitted between 15 Sep-31 Oct 2016. We asked David to tell us a bit about himself—this is what he had to share.

November eBirder of the Month Challenge

Great Gray Owl by Robb Bell/Macaulay Library

This month’s eBirder of the Month challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics, invites you to look at birds through what might not be your usual lens: a camera. November marks one year since we released the ability to add photos and audio directly to your eBird checklists, archiving your media in the Macaulay Library. In this first year, we have been humbled to see more than 1.5 million photos added to the collection by eBirders, documenting more than 8,250 species of birds from 226 countries. If you haven’t uploaded a photo yet—this is your chance! An added bonus is that your photos help make your eBird Profile Page look fantastic. The eBirder of the Month will be drawn from eBirders who submit 15 or more eligible checklists with at least one photo or audio recording in November. 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.

eBirder discount: join the Oriental Bird Club!

Fire-tailed Myzornis, BirdingASIA 4

Pittas. Tragopans. Forktails. Laughingthrushes. If you’re acquainted with Asian birds, those names will evoke a sense of excitement and yearning to travel to India, China, Thailand, Indonesia or any one of the numerous other incredible Asian birding destinations. Regardless of whether those names are familiar, today is a good day for you. We’re pleased to offer a great opportunity for eBirders to learn and appreciate more of Asia’s excellent avifauna, through a special eBirder discount to join the Oriental Bird Club: buy one year’s membership, and get the second free! Just write “eBird” in the “Any requests” section of the order page to get your free year. Join the Oriental Bird Club here. OBC members enjoy exclusive access to two annual publications: Forktail, and BirdingASIA. Forktail is a scientific journal, where BirdingASIA fulfills the role of an excellent twice-annual magazine that features everything from mouth-watering imagery of Asian birds to recent sighting reports and news of conservation efforts throughout the region. The good folks at OBC have kindly included some free samples of BirdingASIA content; check them out below!

Sheryl Johnson, September eBirder of the Month

Please join us in congratulating Sheryl Johnson of Haverford, Pennsylvania, winner of the September 2016 eBird Challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics. Our September winner was drawn from eBirders who submitted at least 15 eligible eBird checklists in September that contained Flyover codes. Sheryl’s name was drawn randomly from the 287 eBirders who achieved the September challenge threshold. Sheryl will receive new ZEISS Conquest HD 8×42 binoculars for her eBirding efforts. We asked Sheryl to tell us a little more about herself, her use of eBird, and her love of birds – read on for more.