Back in the earlier days of the eBird project, there were several “Range Map quiz” features, where you figured out the species at hand from nothing but an image of the eBird Species Map. This was a popular item at the time, and we are pleased to announce its return! This is intended to be a regular feature, and we hope that you enjoy the challenge. This first quiz will be posted here on the front page, but all future range map quizzes will be announced on the eBird Facebook and Twitter pages – more details below.
The Range Map quizzes will be put up periodically, and you will have until midnight one week after the posting to submit your answer. We are unsure as to the frequency of quizzes at this point, but there should be at least a few each month! Each quiz will be viewable on the new eBird Quizzes page, where you can view all current quiz items. This quizzes page can also be accessed from the right side of the eBird homepage. Each range map will be supplied along with the date and year range that it shows, and you will be able to enter a single species name as an answer. The map will show full species, which includes all subspecies if applicable. All other information that you need is contained within the map! After the quiz submission period closes (at 11:59pm on March 6), the answer to the quiz will be emailed out to all quiz participants.
We believe that the process of a bird quiz, whether it be range map, image, sound, or video, is a great teaching tool. We hope that by putting out these periodic quizzes we will increase the knowledge of bird identification and distribution worldwide.
It seems like a grand notion when all we’re doing is posting a map or picture, but it forces you to think deeply about your knowledge of the distribution of species. In the case of range maps, you have to consider all the potential species that could occur in these regions, figure out how to eliminate similar species based on small details of the map, and then hone in on your answer. Even if you don’t get the correct answer in the end, the process of trying to figure it out is a fantastic learning experience. The same process happens when you look at a photo quiz of a bird – finding the characters of the bird that differentiate it from other species, using habitat clues, knowledge of distribution, and putting that all together into a complete package.
This is something that anybody can do, no matter how much experience with birds and birding you have. Whether it be watching a woodpecker at your feeder, or seeing an eagle flying overhead – this is the same analysis process that everybody goes through every time you look at a bird. Through these quizzes, we aim to let you help yourself become a better birder.
As mentioned above, all future quizzes will be announced exclusively on the eBird Facebook and Twitter pages, which allows us to keep the eBird front page open for other material. You can follow us on Facebook or Twitter to stay up to date on quizzes and much more. There is additional content posted regularly on those two sites that does not make the eBird front page – ranging from interesting general bird and conservation news to BirdCast updates, exemplary eBird checklists, and compelling bird photos. By staying tuned to these pages you will be able to see all of these updates and hear about eBird news first.