Research & Analysis

Birding

eBird Science: Bright lights in the big city—impacts of artificial lighting on bird migration

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.

The 2017 Cornell Lab Young Birders Event

Every year a group of passionate, dedicated, young birders descends on the Cornell Lab for a long weekend in early July. For many of us here at the Lab, this is one of the best weekends of the year. The Cornell Lab Young Birders Event focuses on providing information for those who may be interested in pursuing a career with birds, while also helping build lifelong connections among the youth birding community. One of the attendees of this year’s YBE, Max Hellicar, authored an excellent account of his several days here. Thanks to the Cameron Bespolka Trust for making Max’s visit possible. See Max’s story here (PDF). For those of you that are young birders, or know one, please check back in January for details on next year’s Young Birders Event. We hope to see you there.

eBird Illustrated Checklists are here!

You can now view a digital bird guide for any hotspot or region in the world: an Illustrated Checklist. The best part? It’s all using sightings that you contributed! We take the highest-rated photo and sound from the Macaulay Library, combine with eBird data to show seasonal occurrence, and include the last date when a species was seen in that place. The result: a quick overview for the region that gives the most relevant information. Want your photo to be the best image for that region? Add them to your eBird checklists! To check out Illustrated Checklists, search for any region or search for any hotspot. At the top of the species list you’ll see a new tab titled “Illustrated Checklist”. Here’s an example.