You may have heard that Flamingos are pink because they have a diet consisting highly of shrimp, well if we are what we eat, an invasive plant that provides a new food source could change the colors we expect to see in birds we know so well. A recent publication in The Auk: Ornithological Advances highlights another example of how diet can influence pigment. In this example yellow-shafted flickers on the east coast have been showing an unusual red pigment in their flight feathers that are normally yellow.
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.
This month’s eBirder of the Month challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics, puts the power of easy eBirding in the palm of your hands. As technology continues to advance in leaps and bounds with every passing day and month, the birding tools that we can provide continue to improve. One of these such tools is eBird Mobile—a mobile data-entry app for eBird that makes it faster and easier to track your bird sightings than ever before. More than 110,000 people have downloaded eBird Mobile so far, using the app in 26 languages—come join the fun! The eBirder of the Month will be drawn from eBirders who submit 15 or more eligible checklists using eBird Mobile in October. Checklists must be for observations during this month, not historical checklists entered during October. Winners will be notified by the 10th of the following month.
Four groups of Fox Sparrows occur in our region; few other parts of the country can claim that distinction. Three breed in the region and one is a scarce winter visitant. Each group has a very distinct natural history and is usually identifiable in the field. eBirders should make an effort to record them separately, and thereby contribute measurably to our knowledge of them. As long as observers are aware that all of them present field identification challenges of varying degrees and exercise some caution in field identification, eBird data should provide useful insights into the fine points of their distribution and changes over time.
A new version of eBird Mobile (1.3) has just been released that lets you note breeding and behavior codes in your mobile checklists—available for free on both iOS and Android. This lets you track breeding bird activity more easily than ever before, and also lets you log flyover codes—which could win you a pair of binoculars this month! If you’ve never tried eBird Mobile, there has never been a better time to get started. More than 110,000 eBirders have used eBird Mobile so far, replacing the field notebook as the easiest and most accurate way to record your bird sightings in the field. Learn how to get started with eBird Mobile. This latest version also provides the technical foundation that will allow us to build in automatic tracking of distance within the app, sharing of checklists, and many other features that we want and plan to build into eBird Mobile. Every step is bringing us closer to having the full eBird website on your mobile device!
You’re in North America, it’s early 2017, and winter is everywhere. Bird song is nothing but a distant memory, and you yearn for warmth. Wouldn’t you rather be in Trinidad and Tobago? If you eBird, you could be—for free! We’re very happy to announce an exciting opportunity for a lucky eBirder and friend: 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; and guided tours on the ground in Trinidad and Tobago. Thanks to the Asa Wright Nature Centre, JetBlue, and the Trinidad and Tobago Tourism Board for their generous sponsorship. A lucky eBirder will be drawn randomly from among all eligible checklists submitted between Sept 15-Oct 31 2016. More lists, more chances to win. The winner will be notified by November 10.
320,000 eBirders and growing… You’ve looked through eBird checklists and seen their names: kindred birding spirits whose sightings you may have glimpsed only once, or followed regularly over months and years. Now, you can find out who the people are behind these names by exploring eBird’s new Profile Pages! Whether you’re a backyard birder or a globe-trotting world lister, eBird Profile Pages allow you to share your birding story with friends and the entire eBird community. This first version of your public eBird dashboard focuses on showcasing your eBird/Macaulay Library activity with tools that visualize all your sightings and highlight your recent media contributions—all updated with each new eBird contribution. We hope these Profile Pages provide a fun new way to visualize the contributions you’ve made to eBird and the Macaulay Library, inspire you to ‘fill in the gaps’ in your profile maps, and allow you to get to know other eBirders by exploring their Profile Pages. Enjoy meeting the global eBird community, and set up your eBird Profile Page today!
This month’s eBirder of the month challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics, will keep your binoculars pointed towards the sky. As the seasons turn over in September, the movement of birds begins perhaps the best part of a birder’s year: migration. Whether you’re north of the equator for fall, or enjoying an austral spring, things are happening! Migratory restlessness may result in local movements of 10s of kilometers, or something as drastic as undertaking herculean journeys that take shorebirds from the Arctic to the edge of the southern continents. The most amazing part of all of this is that you can witness it, wherever you are. The eBirder of the month will be drawn from eBirders who submit 15 or more eligible checklists in September containing at least one “Flyover” code. Checklists must be for observations during this month; not historical checklists entered during September. Winners will be notified by the 10th of the following month.
100 years ago today President Woodrow Wilson signed the National Parks Service Organic Act creating the new agency and mandating “… it conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and wildlife therein, and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”
In July 2016, the AOU Checklist Committee announced their decision (Retter 2016) to recognize two species of Scrub-Jay: Woodhouse’s (Aphelocoma woodhouseii) and California (Aphelocoma californica). Birders and ornithologists have long recognized the distinctions between these two species taxa. While this historical knowledge provides some useful guidance in separating the two, it has also given rise to some misconceptions. The two species differ in geographic range, have differing population traits, and are somewhat difference in appearance.