As we announced last September, we will award outstanding eBirders in Central America with prizes such as two Zeiss binoculars and several eBird hats, to recognize their contributions to eBird during 2015. At eBird, we value all your observations, but we especially value observations from areas with few eBird checklists. We designed a competition last year to motivate visits to such under-birded areas: submit checklists from more departments or provinces in your country than other birders. But for a department to count, you would need to be in the top 10 list of eBirders (by checklists) for that department. Of course it was more difficult to get into the top 10 for areas that already have many eBirders submitting data, but for under-birded areas, it was not too difficult—sometimes just a few checklists from those data-deficient areas were enough!
Some Central American countries have more departments than others. Belize only has 6, while Guatemala has 22. The vast majority of Central American departments received some data in 2015. For each of these areas, we ranked the observers for 2015 by checklist, and copied the first ten names to a list. If you specifically eBirded in departments where few birders went during 2015, your name will likely have appeared multiple times on this list. For each country, we counted how many times specific observers’ names appeared on the list (excluding eBird reviewers and visiting tourists, who were not eligible). We congratulate the top 3 observers from each country’s list for their outstanding contributions to under-birded areas in eBird Central America during 2015!
These observers are:
Belize: Roni Martínez, Jan Meerman, Dominique Lizama
Costa Rica: Diego Quesada, Róger Rodríguez Bravo, David Segura
El Salvador: Edwin Calderón, Mario Trejo, Néstor Herrera
Guatemala: Maynor Ovando, Daniel Aldana, María José Lou
Honduras: Alfonso Auerbach, Angel Fong, Francisco Dubón
Nicaragua: Jessie Stuebner, Howard Youth, Orlando Jarquín
Panama: Beny Wilson, Carlos Bethancourt, Rolando Jordan
Together, these 21 people contributed a whopping 6170 Central American checklists in 2015: that’s an average of nearly 294 checklists per observer, an amazing and inspiring contribution. Two of these observers deserve special mention, because they submitted far more checklists to eBird Central America than the average of even such an active group, and they are Alfonso Auerbach of Honduras with an amazing 913 checklists, and Róger Rodríguez Bravo of Costa Rica with a fantastic 886 checklists—well done, and many thanks to both!
Of course, all 21 observers helped eBird in a tremendous way by covering under-birded areas and thus filling gaps in our knowledge of bird distribution in our region, and we sincerely congratulate all of them. Two among them are the lucky recipients of a pair of Zeiss Terra 8×42 binoculars. We randomly selected the following two observers to win the binoculars:
Francisco Dubón from Honduras
Orlando Jarquín from Nicaragua
Francisco submitted 349 complete checklists in 2015, and thus far has contributed 504 complete checklists for Honduras for all time, including this one with great photos of the Honduran Emerald and its habitat. Orlando submitted 96 complete checklists in 2015, 206 for all time, and in this checklist from 2012 has the most northerly reported and photo-documented Savanna Hawk in eBird. Congratulations to both! But all 21 winners are champions for eBird, and we will send all of them an original eBird hat.
We want to thank everyone who submitted checklists to eBird in Central America in 2015, and hope you will continue to help eBird grow in our region.
Carl Zeiss Sports Optics is a proven leader in sports optics and is the official optics sponsor for eBird. “Carl Zeiss feels strongly that by partnering with the Cornell Lab we can provide meaningful support for their ability to carry out their research, conservation, and education work around the world,” says Mike Jensen, President of Carl Zeiss Sports Optics, North America. “The Cornell Lab is making a difference for birds, and from the highest levels of our company we’re committed to promoting birding and the Lab’s work, so there’s a great collaboration. eBird is a truly unique and synergistic portal between the Lab and birders, and we welcome the opportunity to support them both.”
Want to be the Central American eBirder of the Year in 2016? We will be announcing the details of the competition very soon. Meanwhile, keep in mind, a checklist a day keeps the doctor away!