This month’s eBirder of the Month challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics, will keep get you snapping photos and recording bird sounds. Every time you take a photo or hold out a microphone, you’re creating an incredibly powerful piece of data. Media help document records, provide resources for learning and education, and also pave the way for future eBird and birding tools like Merlin Photo ID. The eBirder of the month will be drawn from eBirders who submit 15 or more eligible checklists in September containing at least one rated photo or sound. 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.
You can now view a digital bird guide for any hotspot or region in the world: an Illustrated Checklist. The best part? It’s all using sightings that you contributed! We take the highest-rated photo and sound from the Macaulay Library, combine with eBird data to show seasonal occurrence, and include the last date when a species was seen in that place. The result: a quick overview for the region that gives the most relevant information. Want your photo to be the best image for that region? Add them to your eBird checklists! To check out Illustrated Checklists, search for any region or search for any hotspot. At the top of the species list you’ll see a new tab titled “Illustrated Checklist”. Here’s Vermont as an example.
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.
The Second Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Vermont (2003-2007), a project of the Vermont Atlas of Life, was an amazing effort by the birding community. Many of us searched the state to document breeding bird species. The atlas collected important conservation information and it was a lot of fun. Many of us miss it! But with Vermont eBird, the atlas never ends! We want you to keep documenting the nesting status of the birds you are finding. Read more and learn how you can make your Vermont eBird sightings even more valuable by adding breeding information.
Coming from a leafy shrub is the pure song of a Blue-winged Warbler, just as it sounds on your smart phone app. Searching for the songster, you find the singing bird but it definitely not the coloration of the Blue-winged in your field guide. Yikes! What to do? The so-called “winged warblers” are a complex of Blue-winged and Golden-winged Warblers and their many hybrids. They are most commonly found in shrubby, abandoned farm fields. Two of the hybrids are known by the names Brewster’s Warbler and Lawrence’s Warbler. Population structures appear to be rapidly changing here in Vermont and elsewhere, and we are trying to keep track of what is going on
VCE Releases a Major Report Today Documenting the Status of Vermont’s Forest Birds
A 25-year study of Vermont’s forest birds, including woodpeckers, warblers and other iconic species, has documented a 14.2 percent overall population decline during the period, raising concerns about birds and forests alike.
The Vermont Bird Records Committee (VBRC) is pleased to announce a new online form with media uploading for reporting observations of rare, out-of-season, and rare nesting bird species in the state. The tool was created for the committee by the Vermont Center for Ecostudies. Founded in 1980, the mission of the VBRC is to validate records of birds within the State of Vermont and maintain the state bird checklist. The committee is composed of expert birders and ornithologists from Vermont. This new online form has been prepared to encourage full and detailed documentation of rare or unseasonal birds observed in Vermont.
How often have you looked at a ubiquitous Red-tailed Hawk on a roadside pole, a nearby tree, or soaring overhead, and wondered aloud about how it just looks different … or wondered if it even was a Red-tail? We all know that Vermont’s most familiar hawk comes in different sizes, shades, and plumage patterns. But is it just different individuals, ages, and sexes, or could it be birds from different, recognizable subspecies?
From a Great Horned Owl on Snake Mountain on January 1st, to Long-tailed Ducks at the South Hero Causeway on December 31st, Vermont birders scoured fields and fens, mountains and meadows, lakes and lawns to discover as many species as possible during the 6th annual Vermont eBird County Quest. The year-long contest pits county versus county, birder against birder — all engaged in a friendly rivalry for top birding honors. The main idea behind the year-long Quest is simply to get people out birding, promote camaraderie, and better document bird life across the state, using Vermont eBird.
2017 marks the 14 year anniversary of Vermont eBird, the first state portal for eBird. The bird checklists that you have shared have helped make Vermont eBird the largest citizen science biodiversity project in the state and around the world. Nearly 2,000 Vermont eBirders have submitted 218,869 complete checklists, representing all 385 species of birds ever reported from Vermont. We’ve added nearly 11,000 images and over 500 sound recordings to Vermont checklists. And we join the more than 1/3 million eBirders worldwide that 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.