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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

December eBirder of the Month Challenge

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!

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?

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

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.