It happens to all eBird users sooner or later. You’re entering a bunch of birds, and you get an automated request to “add comments” about an unusual bird or a high species total. For the volunteer eBird editors, the comments provided by the observer are the difference between acting on a record on the spot and starting an email discussion with them. Unfortunately, all too often the comments provided by the observer are not helpful to the reviewers. Many comments are along the line of “best view ever!”, “lifer!!!” or “seen by six observers” and they don’t help the reviewers do their job, necessitating an email to the observer. There are some things that you as an eBird user can do to help other birders and to also make the editor’s job a lot easier. This will also make your data more useful for future editors. And it’s all about what you enter in comments box on the data entry screen.
It's a new day for birding enthusiasts in Texas. The widely-acclaimed Great Texas Birding Classic (GTBC), which for the last 16 years has occurred solely on the Gulf Coast, has been expanded to include the entire state of Texas! Get ready to make birding history, because in 2013 you will be participating in the first statewide Birding Classic in Texas. Just think of all the different species that will be counted, when nine different regions join the fun!
In 2011, the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory began a long-term project studying the western Gulf Coast population of American Oystercatchers (Haematopus palliatus palliates). This species has been designated as a species of high concern by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and is also a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department priority species. The threats to this species are many. They live in a very restricted area, the coastal zone, which is under intensive pressure from human interests including development, industry, and recreation. They have a low overall population size, about 11,000 individuals in the USA, and they have low reproductive success with delayed breeding. Adult oystercatchers do not begin to breed until they are at least 3 years of age.
We are thrilled to report the release of the new BirdsEye BirdLog app for the iPhone and Android smartphones (coming soon for the iPad), which for the first time allows quick-and-easy data entry directly from the field. Almost since the inception of eBird, we have longed for the ability to easily record and submit bird observations in a single step while birding in the field. BirdLog promises to transform eBirding, replacing the field notebook with an integrated, simple process for tallying birds and submitting directly to the eBird database. The use of the phone's GPS makes it simple to provide precise locations, and other automated checks ensure continuing high data quality standards and actually make it easier to submit highly accurate data to eBird. Species can be entered by scrolling a list, typing the bird name, or using the four-letter code and can be tallied as you go for more accurate counting. This is a transformative moment for eBird since BirdLog makes recording eBird checklists easier and more accurate, all at the same time.
eBirders often email us and ask where they should go birding to make the biggest impact in regions with little data. It's perhaps little surprise that eBird checklist submissions are most dense in areas with large human populations, so getting away from those areas is a good first step for filling in the data gaps in eBird. But seeing these gaps can be really astonishing, and with the help of map wizard Paul Hurtado, we've come up with a neat way to visualize eBird data density at the county level. These maps are a visualization of the total number of eBird checklists submitted in each US county in the month of January across all years. Pull up your state map and see how your home county is faring. And better yet, find a county that's white, pink, or yellow, and go do as many eBird checklists as you can there this January!