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Birding in the 21st Century.

News and Features

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:

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.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Seminar Series

Join Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as they presents their Lunchtime Seminar Series, you can join in person or remotely through a webinar for these free hour long presentations.

The next seminar presented is:

Linking seabird and shorebird monitoring to research and management, presented by Scott Pearson, WDFW Wildlife Program on December 13th, 12:00-1:00pm in NRB room 175 (or join remotely via WebEx—information below).

Willamette Valley Bird Symposium

The Willamette Valley Bird Symposium is a day-long event that brings professional, student, and amateur ornithologists together to celebrate birds. The 2016 event will take place on Saturday, January 21st at the CH2M HILL Alumni Center on the Oregon State University campus in Corvallis, Oregon. This Symposium is an opportunity to bring together professionals, students, and amateurs to celebrate birds. This event offers a keynote presentation by Dr. Sue Haig, scientific presentations, demonstrations of avian research techniques, networking opportunities, and live birds from a Chintimini Wildlife Center.

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.

November eBirder of the Month Challenge

This month’s eBirder of the Month challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics, invites you to look at birds through what might not be your usual lens: a camera. November marks one year since we released the ability to add photos and audio directly to your eBird checklists, archiving your media in the Macaulay Library. In this first year, we have been humbled to see more than 1.5 million photos added to the collection by eBirders, documenting more than 8,250 species of birds from 226 countries. If you haven’t uploaded a photo yet—this is your chance! An added bonus is that your photos help make your eBird Profile Page look fantastic. The eBirder of the Month will be drawn from eBirders who submit 15 or more eligible checklists with at least one photo or audio recording in November. Checklists must be for observations during this month, not historical checklists entered during November. Winners will be notified by the 10th of the following month.

A Change in Pigment Leads to a New Discovery

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.