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Birding in the 21st Century.

News and Features

Map Madness

The other day, I read a post asking about the best gull-watching locations in the United States. This made me curious about the distribution of gulls throughout Wisconsin and to better visualize it, I made a choropleth map tick map to show the number of gull species in each Wisconsin. Since that was so much fun, I also went through and did the same for ducks, hawks, shorebirds, warblers, sparrows, finches, and then created a map of all those metrics combined.

2017 Wisconsin eBird Year in Review

As 2017 concludes, it is time to celebrate! Wisconsin’s eBirders found many rarities, exerted near-record levels of effort, many were hard at work on Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II, and contributed significant amounts of media to the Macaulay Library via eBird.

New tools and upgrades became available to eBirders–eBird Mobile was significantly upgraded, the new Illustrated Checklist which pairs media with bar charts for any region was unveiled, and sensitive species were given increased protection in eBird.

Want to see pictures of some of 2017’s best birds? Care to learn about some of the idiosyncrasies of this year in birding? How about a summary of some of the year’s birding statistics? If yes, then read on.

New Year’s Resolution 2018: eBird

Let 2018 be the year to step up your eBird use. If you have enjoyed tapping into eBird reports from others, set a goal to start contributing your own sightings in 2018. Submit a sighting online or via eBird Mobile to see just how easy it is to join the eBird community. If you have been participating in eBird for a long time, maybe you can add a few more checklists from your home  or by submit a few more photos and audio recordings? Have you been meaning to  enter some old records that you’d like to have in eBird? Every piece of data has value. New Year’s Resolutions are a way to set fun challenges and personal goals. Read on for some ideas for eBird Resolutions and how to make birding and eBird even more fun in 2018.

January eBirder of the Month Challenge

This month’s eBirder of the month challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics, gives you an excuse to get out there at the start of 2018 and see what you can find! In order to qualify as the first eBirder of the Month in 2018, all you have to do is submit one eBird checklist for each day in January.

November eBirder of the Month Challenge

This month’s eBirder of the Month challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics, encourages precise eBirding. The eBirder of the Month will be drawn from eBirders who submit 3 or more eligible checklists in one day in November. Each day with 3 or more eligible checklists is one chance to win.

October eBirder of the Month Challenge

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.

September eBirder of the Month Challenge

This month’s eBirder of the month challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics, will keep your eyes and ears trained upwards. 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 enjoying a northern autumn or an austral spring, things are happening! Migratory restlessness may result in local movements of 10s of kilometers, or 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.

Red Crossbills are on the move! But which type are they?

Reports are coming in now of migrating Red Crossbills, especially in northern Wisconsin. This species is famous for wandering widely to find good cone crops and it seems like many are currently headed east through our area.

You can help us by recording Red Crossbills when you hear them (even with just your phone), to help us learn which types of crossbills are in our area. These types may be subspecies, or may actually be cryptic species, like the recent Cassia Crossbill in Idaho that has gained full species status.

Filter Update for Southern Wisconsin

How does eBird know a species is rare, or a count is high?  The short answer is filters.  The Wisconsin eBird Team recently replaced, species by species several times over, one of our workhorse filters which we called the South Filter.  Formerly the South Filter covered 11 counties in South Central Wisconsin.  These 11 counties are now covered by 7 new filters–reflecting local differences in bird status and distribution on a finer scale.

eBird Android—automatically track your birding

eBird Mobile for Android took a big step forward this week: the ability to keep ‘tracks’ of where you eBird. Every time you start a checklist on eBird Android, you now have the option to keep a GPS track of where you walk for your traveling counts. The ‘tracks’ automatically calculate the distance traveled and time spent eBirding—all you have to do is watch birds! This is an important new chapter in eBird, opening the door for many exciting new future tools: improved research that can use the actual path you birded, eBird data outputs that can show the precise path of any given checklist, and much more. Plus, it makes your birding even easier. Try eBird Android today.