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July eBirder of the Month Challenge

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. Each shared checklistthat you’re a part of gives you one chance to win. These lists 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.

Bird Academy giveaway: How to Identify Bird Songs

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.

Statistics, Machine Learning, Uncertainty

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.

Female Bird Song Project

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!

eBird Server Maintenance on June 20 – website unavailable 03:30-08:00ET

All of eBird will be unavailable on June 20 between 03:30-08:00ET (08:30-13:00GMT), due to regularly scheduled server and database maintenance. We have to do this semi-annually to keep everything up to date and offer the best user experience possible. We apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause. During that time, please note down your sightings in […]

White-breasted Nuthatch populations – eBirders aid conservation and prepare for a potential split

Many Northwest birders are aware that there are two discrete populations of White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis) in the Pacific Northwest: one found in the pine forests of the interior and the other in broad valleys west of the Cascades in oak and ash forests. These two populations have very different conservation statuses as well. The interior birds (subspecies tenuissima) are apparently either stable or increasing, while the westside birds (subspecies aculeata) also called Slender-billed Nuthatch) have shown a dramatic decline and range contraction over the last century (Wahl et al 2005). As a result of their decline in the Northwest, they are a Candidate species in Washington state and in Oregon are listed as Sensitive. Both Washington and Oregon include Sitta carolinensis aculeata in their State Wildlife Action Plans.

June eBirder of the Month Challenge

This month’s eBirder of the Month challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics, gives you a chance to improve our knowledge of breeding birds across the world. In much of the world, June is a critical time in the annual cycle of many birds, as they build nests, hatch chicks, and hopefully fledge young—perpetuating the existence of their species. Even if June isn’t peak breeding season near you, there are still many signs of breeding to be found wherever you are! The eBirder of the month will be drawn from eBirders who submit at least 15 eligible checklists containing at least one breeding code during June. eBird Mobile now lets you enter breeding codes on your mobile checklists, so taking part is easier than ever. Winners will be notified by the 10th of the following month.

Hawk Heaven:  The Raptors of the Klamath-Siskiyou

It’s a fine summer day on the banks of the Rogue River. You’re getting ready for a morning of fly-fishing when a shadow passes across the water, and you look up to see a great broad-winged bird circling against the sun. Its grace and majesty, its ease in the air, takes your breath away.

And then, if you’re like me, you wonder: what is it? A Bald Eagle!… or an Osprey? A Red-tailed Hawk? Maybe it’s a Golden Eagle! Wait – a Turkey Vulture? There are plenty of possibilities, because we’re lucky enough to live in one of the hotspots for birds of prey in North America. The Klamath-Siskiyou region is home to no less than 15 different species of nesting birds of prey, with three more species that visit regularly in the winter. These range in size from the delicate American Kestrel, a robin-sized falcon that feeds largely on insects, to the massive Bald Eagle, fully capable of pulling a salmon out of the river and flying away with it.

Greater Sandhill Cranes in Washington

Sandhill Cranes (Antigone canadensis) travel in large, noisy migratory flocks this time of year. Often their loud, gravelly, honking voices are our first clues that they are high overhead on their long migratory journey, looking to settle or rest on the way, or have returned to the breeding grounds. Large flocks of Lesser Sandhill Cranes (A. c. canadensis) stop in eastern Washington during migration and a few thousand Canadian Sandhills (A. c. rowani) stop on lower Columbia bottomlands, but only a small number of cranes stop and nest in Washington. The cranes that nest here are Greater Sandhill Cranes (A. c. tabida) that belong to the Central Valley Population, so-called because the entire population winters in California’s Central Valley. Members of this population also nest in Oregon, northeastern California, Nevada, and the southern interior of British Columbia.

Ecological research uses eBird data to show that migratory birds are falling out of sync with the timing of spring

At eBird, our goal is connect valuable birdwatcher sightings with research and conservation. The eBird checklists that you’ve entered have been used in over 100 peer-reviewed papers, and hundreds of local, regional, and national conservation decisions. We’re excited to feature one of the most recent papers published on eBird, “Increasing phenological asynchrony between spring green-up and arrival of migratory birds”, thanks to lead author Stephen Mayor. Read on to see how eBird data helped illuminate an increasing mismatch between when plants green up and when migrant birds return in spring.