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.
Ever since satellite technology has been small enough to put on a bird, researchers have been using transmitters to ask questions about birds that were previously unanswerable. Although some questions still can’t be answered with anything aside from satellites (e.g., precise paths of migrating birds throughout their entire annual cycle), a paper published this week in Global Ecology and Conservation shows that eBird data can be comparable to satellite data when creating species distribution models. The authors of the open-access paper “Species distribution models for a migratory bird based on citizen science and satellite tracking data” have written a great account of their research on Band-tailed Pigeons (below). Thanks to Chris Coxen, Jennifer Frey, Scott Carleton, and Dan Collins for taking the time to share their work with the eBird community.
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.
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.
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 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.
Have you ever uploaded a photo or audio recording to an eBird checklist, only to realize after the fact that it’s under the wrong species? Then you had to delete the photo from eBird, go back to your photo archive, and re-upload to the new species. Or if a reviewer notified you about an error on a checklist, just changing an observation could be a bit tricky as well—especially if you had notes, breeding codes, and age/sex information to move over to the new species. This all got a lot easier today: we are excited to announce a new and easy way to edit your checklists with the Change Species button on the checklist editing page. Go to “Manage My Checklists” and choose “Edit Species List” while viewing one of your eBird checklists to change any of your species.
This month’s eBirder of the Month challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics, encourages you to get our birding every day in one of the least-eBirded months of the year. The eBirder of the Month will be drawn from eBirders who submit 31 eligible checklists during August. Winners will be notified by the 10th of the following month. August is an interesting time in much of the world, when the boreal breeding season is ending and spring is beginning to think about returning to the southern reaches of our planet. Many birds are wandering from their normal habitats, and there’s a lot for us to learn about where and when birds occur. Shorebird migration is in full swing across the northern hemisphere and many passerines begin their migration in August too. Let’s get out and see what we can find in August!
Everytime we go birding and submit an eBird checklist, we take a tiny snapshot of bird occurrence in space and time. eBird’s grand vision is to piece all these tiny snapshots together as a global tapestry of bird occurrence. This shared effort to illustrate bird occurrence begins to reveal the complex relationships of our birds to the environment and, as the seasons change, how birds flow around the planet in cycles of dispersal and migration. With this in mind, we are thrilled to share our 2017 STEM models, which are the product of several years of refinements and improvements over the classic eBird Occurrence Maps. STEM (Spatio-Temporal Exploratory Model) is a species distribution model that has been specifically developed for eBird data by statisticians and researchers at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
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 an example.