Over the past few millennia, human-caused habitat change has had one of the most profound effects on bird populations globally, especially since industrialization in the 1800s. Looking forward, we can expect human-caused habitat loss to represent the greatest threat to many North American breeding birds. The problem will be most severe on their wintering grounds, according to a new study published today in the journal Global Change Biology by a international research team including representatives from the Cornell Lab, Environment and Climate Change Canada, and VU University Amsterdam. By the end of this century, the study’s authors say predicted changes in rainfall and temperature will compound the problem for birds that breed in eastern North America and winter in Central America. The data source for this research? Your eBird checklists.
Everytime we go birding and submit an eBird checklist, we take a tiny snapshot of bird occurrence in space and time. eBird’s grand vision is to piece all these tiny snapshots together as a global tapestry of bird occurrence. This shared effort to illustrate bird occurrence begins to reveal the complex relationships of our birds to the environment and, as the seasons change, how birds flow around the planet in cycles of dispersal and migration. With this in mind, we are thrilled to share our 2017 STEM models, which are the product of several years of refinements and improvements over the classic eBird Occurrence Maps. STEM (Spatio-Temporal Exploratory Model) is a species distribution model that has been specifically developed for eBird data by statisticians and researchers at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
Please join us in congratulating Sam Murray of Augusta, GA, winner of the June 2017 eBird Challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics. Our June winner was drawn from eBirders who submitted 15 or more eligible checklists containing at least one breeding code in June. Sam’s name was drawn randomly from the 1,769 eligible eBirders who achieved the June challenge threshold. Sam will receive new ZEISS Conquest HD 8×42 binoculars for his eBirding efforts. Read more to see Sam’s full story.
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.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology invites applications for our Edward W. Rose Postdoctoral Fellowships. These competitive postdoctoral fellowship awards (www.birds.cornell.edu/postdoc) support innovative, independent research by early career scholars of exceptional promise. Multiple Rose Fellow positions are available annually, with applications due on September 8. All Rose Fellows join a vibrant community of more than a dozen concurrent postdocs within the Rose Postdoctoral Program and interact with many other scholars across a wide range of disciplines.
As summer winds down across much of the Northern Hemisphere, there’s still a lot of bird song to be heard. Want to improve your audio birding skills? Or perhaps brush up on how to learn song before the austral summer? 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 July, every eligible checklist that you submit gives you a chance to get free access to Be a Better Birder: How to Identify Bird Songs.
This month’s eBirder of the Month challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics, encourages you to share July birding with others. The eBirder of the Month will be drawn from eBirders who submit 15 eligible shared checklists during July. These shared checklists may be shared with you from another person, or shared from you to someone else—the only thing is that all people on the shared checklist were birding together. These checklists must be entered, shared, and accepted by the last day of the month. Winners will be notified by the 10th of the following month. Although July is sometimes thought of as a ‘slow month’ for birding, there is actually a ton to learn, see, and share with friends. Read on to see some of the ways that we enjoy birding in July.
Your bird sightings can influence more than just the birding and conservation worlds. eBird checklists are a quintessential example of ‘Big Data’—a massive dataset, chock full of patterns, that contains myriad opportunities to explore exciting questions in fields like statistics or machine learning. Giles Hooker, Associate Professor in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University, has been using eBird data to understand inherent biases in predictive models that use large datasets. How do you control for as much bias as possible? How can you quantify uncertainty? Read more about how your eBird data are having impact here.
Most birders know that males of many bird species sing. Less well known is that females of many species sing too – and that their songs can often be equally beautiful and complex. In fact, recent research shows that females sing in about 2/3 of songbird species, and that female songs likely evolved alongside male songs in the early ancestors of modern songbirds. Yet, female songs are greatly underrepresented in recording collections. For researchers to understand how songbirds evolved their diverse songs, we need recordings of female songs from around the world. This is a daunting task. The Female Bird Song Project is asking birders, like yourself, to help observe and record female songs through your eBird checklists. Read more to find out how you can help!
Want to learn how to be a better birder? We all feel that sometimes. 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 June, every eligible checklist that you submit gives you a chance to win free access to the online self-paced courses Be a Better Birder 1 & 2.
Ten lucky eBirders will get this course for free for their June eBirding! If you like taking part in the eBirder of the Month Challenges, here are even more opportunities to motivate yourself to get out birding. Each month of 2017 will feature a different Bird Academy course offering—tune in at the start of July to see what’s on tap for next month.