500 million eBird records

By Team eBird March 26, 2018
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica

This week, a Barn Swallow submitted from Shan, Myanmar by Wich’yanan (Jay) Limparungpatthanakij was the 500-millionth record entered in eBird. Half a billion records of birds, all thanks to birders like you. This humble Barn Swallow joins sightings from 390,000 eBirders, and is the 3,359,178th Barn Swallow record in eBird (1 in every 150 eBird records is of a Barn Swallow!). Barn Swallow is a cosmopolitan species with records from every continent (including Antarctica!) so we can think of no better example than a Myanmar Barn Swallow to exemplify eBird as a global partnership with birders around the world to document all species, common and rare. Check out our model of Western Hemisphere Barn Swallow movements — lists from Myanmar and beyond will help expand these models to new areas.

15 years ago, in eBird’s first year, we averaged 15,000 sightings per month. Today, during peak birding season that many sightings are eBirded every hour. We are continually thankful and appreciative of all the work that you do to make eBird possible, and look forward to continuing to build more tools and resources to support your birding, research, and conservation.

Thanks to Jay for his below story of that checklist, as well as for his eBirding and tireless efforts as the lead reviewer for Thailand!

“After the whole morning search in Inle Lake and vicinity yielded zero Collared Myna (which would be a lifer for all trip participants), we decided to stop by en route to Kalaw to check flowering trees in temple grounds that are known to attract nectar-feeding birds. Great Mynas and Chestnut-tailed Starlings that came visiting gave us hope, so we stayed for quite a long while hoping that Collared Myna would turn up. I started entering bird species I saw in the eBird Mobile app. We looked at every single myna that flew past and found none with white collar, so we decided to leave the temple after spending well over an hour. Eventually, our efforts paid off as we saw a pair of Collared Mynas foraging in a roadside cultivated land not far away from the site along with other much more numerous congeners. I submitted these complete checklists as soon as internet access was available.

Fully aware that eBird must have increasingly been handling massive amount of data, I had absolutely no clue that there were already as many as half a billion eBird records and the one that marked that milestone would be my own sighting — the familiar Barn Swallow! Sorry to disappoint as it’s not a bird anyone would be excited for, but every single record submission is a contribution to science, no matter how common or rare the species is. Data of such a common and widespread species could be garnered most effectively through citizen science. Kudos to all eBird staff and contributors who helped the community improve in both quantity and quality.”

Here’s looking forward to 1 billion…!