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Red Phalarope – Fall 2016

This was a fall to remember for observing Red Phalaropes in our region, and was the most comprehensively described because of eBird. They were easily observed from many coastal locations for two months, and numerous birds were found inland. The eBird data tell a tale of record numbers and levels of phalaropes in many areas.

Red Phalaropes are well known as a storm-driven migrant on the Pacific coast, often associated with late fall or early winter storms with west or southwest winds (Marshall et al 2003), particularly “Pineapple Express” storms that originate well south of our region. Paulson (1993) lists several wrecks and unusual onshore abundances, particularly after an 18 Jan 1986 storm. Wahl et al (2005) cite unusual abundances in the winter of 1995-96, south to Olympia and inland to the Portland area; the winter of 1985-86, and Dec 2002. The most recent major wreck occurred in late Dec 2005 to early Jan 2006 over a two week period that included 641 birds tallied on the Grays Harbor CBC on 2 Jan 2016 and inland birds reported from Island, King, Kitsap, Thurston and Lewis Counties. The eBird abundance[1] graph for all years for Bird Conservation Region[2] 5 (Northern Pacific Rainforest) shows the classic Oct/Nov peak with Nov usually the stronger month.

Bird Academy giveaway: Waterfowl ID

Do you enjoy watching waterfowl, but sometimes have trouble telling scaup or teal apart? We’ve all been there, and we can help! 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 February, every eligible checklist that you submit gives you a chance to get free access to Be a Better Birder: Duck and Waterfowl Identification.

Ten lucky eBirders will get this course for free from their February eBirding—just in time for March, one of the peak months for waterfowl migration worldwide! Take this course and start a new chapter of wild goose chases. If you like taking part in the eBirder of the Month Challenges, here are even more excuses 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 March to see what’s on tap for next month.

February eBirder of the Month Challenge

Sharing is caring. This month’s eBirder of the Month Challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics, is all about birding with others. This could be a day in the field with a long-time birding friend that you’ve been checking the local lake with for 30 years, or someone who is just starting. They could be an eBirder already, or somebody who like birds but hasn’t started eBirding yet. The eBirder of the Month will be chosen from all eligible shared checklists submitted during February. Each shared checklist that you’re a part of gives you one chance to win. These lists could be shared with you from another person, or shared from you to someone else—the only requirement is that all people on the shared checklist were a part of the birding event. These checklists must be entered, shared, and accepted by the last day of the month in order to qualify for the drawing. Winners will be notified by the 10th of the following month.

2017 Brings Opportunities to Explore National Wildlife Refuges

With the start to a New Year comes a whole new list of birding festivals. Many birding festivals take place on or near National Wildlife Refuges, often located on important migratory pathways. If you prefer to stay close to home, many of these festival are taking place right here in the eBird Northwest region or, maybe your New Year’s resolution was to travel more, a festival in Texas or Florida could be the right opportunity. Here is a list of upcoming birding festivals in 2017 taking place on National Wildlife Refuges:

New Year’s Resolution 2017: more eBirding!

The New Year is a time for fresh beginnings. As you think about your personal goals for 2017, consider stepping up your eBird use. If you visit eBird primarily to learn about sightings from others, then make 2017 the year you start contributing your own sightings. You’ll be glad that you do, because each time you enter data into eBird, its tools get better and more informative for you personally! If you are already an active eBirder, then set a new personal 2017 eBirding goal. Can you use eBird to help you find 10 new birds in 2017? What year list will you focus on? Can you visit your favorite birding spot every week of the year? Are you ready to try the 2017 eBird Checklist-a-Day” challenge? Read more for some ideas for eBird Resolutions and how to make birding and eBird even more fun in 2017.

January eBirder of the Month Challenge

This month’s eBirder of the month challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics, give you an excuse to get out there at the start of 2017 and see what you can find! In order to qualify as the first eBirder of the Month in 2017, all you have to do one eBird checklist for each day in January. The more eyes looking, the merrier. This is a perfect way to wrap winning free binoculars into a New Year’s Resolution! The eBirder of the month will be drawn from eBirders who submit at least 31 eligible checklists in January. Winners will be notified by the 10th of the following month.

2017 Checklist-a-day Challenge

In 2016, eBird received more than 3.75 million complete checklists from your birding efforts. eBird thrives on the enthusiasm and engagement of tens of thousands of loyal participants worldwide who reliably enter their birding forays in eBird. Our most loyal eBirders go a step beyond, putting in checklists from short yard counts, lunchtime walks, or a quick stop to scan their favorite local patch. Our challenge to you in 2017 is to see if you can submit at least one checklist a day—for the entire year. At the end of the year we will draw three winners from among those who submitted at least 365 eligible checklists in 2017. Read more below.

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 10,312 species from every country in the world. We are […]

Oregon’s Pepper Trail, Country’s Only Criminal Forensic Ornithologist, Featured by National Audubon

Most people have heard of a Criminal Investigator, a Forensic Scientist or even an Ornithologist but have you ever heard of a job that combines those skills? A Criminal Forensic Ornithologist is a job unknown to many, and for good reason, there is only one in the county, and he is located in Ashland, Oregon. Pepper Trail works at the National Fish and Wildlife Forensic Laboratory. He receives evidence from law enforcement, sometimes in the form of a single feather or a piece of a claw and is able to identify it to the species from which it came. Trail is currently working with Special Agents as they investigate the illegal trade of hummingbird love charms. These charms made of decorated hummingbirds carcasses are made in Mexico and smuggled into the United States to be sold. Read the full National Audubon article to hear more about Pepper Trail’s fascinating career and learn about the cases he is currently working on.

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: