This month’s eBirder of the Month challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics, will get you snapping photos and recording bird sounds. Every time you take a photo or hold out a microphone, you’re capturing an incredibly powerful piece of data. Media help document records, provide resources for learning and education, and also pave the way for future eBird and birding tools like Merlin Photo ID. The eBirder of the month will be drawn from eBirders who submit 20 or more eligible checklists in December containing at least one rated photo or sound. Checklists must be for observations during this month; not historical checklists entered during December. Winners will be notified by the 10th of the following month.
In only 3 years, the eBird/Macaulay Library partnership has resulted in more than 14.5 million photos and sounds added to eBird checklists and archived in the Macaulay Library: all thanks to you. This collection has become an unparalleled resource to document bird sightings worldwide, as well as providing an exceedingly valuable dataset for researchers and birders worldwide. As this collection continues to grow, being able to sort out specific photos becomes increasingly important. Learn how to rate images to make your photos as useful as they can be, and explore audio rating guidelines for your sounds.
One of the most exciting uses of this media collection has been for Merlin Photo ID—automatic identification of bird photos. Merlin Photo ID now works for more than 3000 species in the Americas and Europe, and will continue to expand in the coming months and years. In the future we plan to also integrate Merlin Photo ID into the eBird/Macaulay upload process, helping provide real-time feedback on your bird sightings as you add images.
The sightings and photos that you have contributed through eBird have made Merlin Photo ID possible. The best part about this is that you can help! By taking part in this month’s eBirder of the Month Challenge, your photos help make it possible for us to deliver the best Merlin, and eBird, that we can. Add your photos and sounds today.
Each month we will feature a new eBird challenge and set of selection criteria. The monthly winners will each receive a new ZEISS Conquest HD 8×42 binocular. In addition, don’t forget about the 2019 Checklist-a-day Challenge—can you submit 365 eligible checklists this year?
Carl Zeiss Sports Optics is a proven leader in sports optics and is the official optics sponsor for eBird. “We are thrilled to continue our partnership with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and support the vital scientific data being collected by dedicated eBirders.” – Richard Moncrief, Birding and Nature Observation Segment Manager at Carl Zeiss SBE