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Birding in the 21st Century.

News and Features

eBird and Macaulay Library: next generation tools for rich media

Adult male Northern Harrier, Moss Landing, CA, October. Photo by Brian L. Sullivan.

It’s no surprise that birders are a visual and aural community—after all, we spend most of our time searching for birds by sight and sound. Millions of birders around the world now carry cameras into the field, and many people are beginning to record bird sounds using smartphones. Until now, this rich resource of bird photos and sounds has been scattered across disparate resources, or in the worst cases has not been captured at all. Using the data collection power of eBird, and the long-term curation and archival capabilities of the Macaulay Library, we’ve created a home at the Cornell Lab for this next generation of bird information. Leveraging the strengths of both projects, we’ve developed a scientific foundation and a streamlined process for collecting rich media that provides a long-term, open data resource searchable by birders and scientists alike—a real-time, digital natural history collection. And did we forget to mention, it’s incredibly fun? Through a simple drag-and-drop process, any eBirder can now upload photos and sounds directly into an eBird checklist. For the first time, it’s easy to illustrate your eBird checklists with rich media, not only providing documentation for your bird records, but also creating a visual and audio tapestry of what you’re encountering in the field, and easily share it with others.

November eBirder of the Month

Magnolia Warbler

This month’s eBirder of the month challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics, focuses on repeatedly birding the same area. To date, eBirders have submitted more than 275 million observations of birds, from 2.87 million separate locations across every country. Many of these locations have just one or two checklists—giving us a baseline for the […]

Announcing the new Young Birders Club of Wisconsin!


The birdwatching community might appear dominated by adult experts and mature naturalists. However, there is a less visible but equally important demographic hidden out there: Teenage birders. We are the future of birding in Wisconsin. Did you know Illinois, Iowa and Ohio all have active youth birding clubs? Now is the time to join the Young Birders Club of Wisconsin.

We Need Your Insight – Season Wrap-Up Surveys

Red-Headed Woodpecker by Ryan Brady

As the first Atlas field season wraps up, we’d like to urge all Wisconsin birders to give us feedback. We need your insight to tell us what’s working well, and what can be improved.

We have created two short surveys, one for atlasers, and one for non-atlasers. Please take the survey that applies to you and share them both as you see fit. We want to make the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II the best it can be, for birds and for birders. Every person doing their own small part will create an enormous quantity of critical information that will benefit the birds we love.

Announcing the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II eBird Portal!


ATTENTION BIRDERS: If you observe breeding behavior in Wisconsin between now and 2019, you should be entering your checklists at the new Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II eBird Portal! Read on to learn more.

June Hotspot of the Month-Navarino Wildlife Area

eagle soaring

Back after a hiatus, the Hotspot of the Month series brings us to Shawano County for the month of June. Kay Brockman-Mederas, a Wildlife Biologist for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Tim Ewing, Director/Naturalist of Navarino Nature Center, Inc., take us on a tour of the rich diversity of habitats and species at the eBird hotspot, Navarino State Wildlife Area.

June eBirder of the Month Challenge – Win Binoculars!

Piping Plover

This month’s eBirder of the month challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics, is aimed to improve our knowledge of breeding birds across the world. In the Northern Hemisphere, June is a crucial time in the annual cycle of many birds, as they build nests, hatch chicks, and hopefully fledge young – perpetuating the existence of their species. Although the rest of the world may not be in the throes of summer, 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 20 complete checklists containing at least one breeding code during June. These checklists must be entered by the last day of the month in order to qualify for the drawing. Winners will be notified by the 10th of the following month.

Do you use eBird data for conservation? Please tell us how!

Red Knot, San Mateo, CA, April. Photo by Brian Sullivan

eBird is an increasingly valuable data source for a variety of uses around the world. It provides open data access to thousands of researchers, academics, students, and conservationists each year, who use your observations to help answer questions about bird status and distribution. We’re always excited to hear about how eBird data are being used in these communities, specifically data use that relates to conservation. Have you used eBird to help make a conservation decision or to take conservation action? If so, please consider taking this short survey to tell us about it. The purpose of this survey is to help us understand how eBird data are being used, and help uncover conservation outcomes related to use of eBird data. We define ‘conservation outcomes’ as actions resulting from eBird data use that helped conserve birds, biodiversity, or key habitats. Examples could be protection or creation of habitat, better siting of a renewable energy project, listing/delisting of a species, or developing a set of management guidelines for a land owner. If in doubt, take the survey and tell us how you use eBird data. Collectively, this information is important for understanding eBird’s impact on bird conservation. The results of the study will be used for scholarly purposes only and may be published at scientific conferences and in scientific journals.

Great Backyard Bird Count Identification Primer

Cover_photo_DOWO_HAWO same_Laura Erickson

With the 17th annual Great Backyard Bird Count right around the corner, the Wisconsin eBird team has been fielding many questions on bird identification of confusing species. Thanks to team members Sean Fitzgerald and Aaron Boone for putting together this great guide to separating many of the difficult pairs and groups.

2014 Wisconsin eBird—A Year in Review


In 2014 participation in eBird continued to grow in Wisconsin. 90,013 checklists were submitted in 2014 (a 4% increase over the 86,507 Checklists in 2013) and 341 species were observed (340 in 2013).
2014 ended in the same way it began, with a Snowy Owl irruption. Over 200 individuals were tallied during each irruption. See this article for a report on the irruption from the fall and winter of 2013-2014. A few Northern Hawk Owls were also noted at the beginning and end of the year. Individuals in Door and Eau Claire Counties lingered for extended periods of time.