Using eBird Mobile on your Christmas Bird Counts

By Team eBird December 20, 2012

Recording birds for Christmas Bird Counts (CBCs) is now easier than ever, thanks to eBird Mobile. If you have a smartphone, but don’t yet have eBird Mobile, you might want to consider getting it for yourself for Christmas (Bird Counts) this year. If you’ve been waiting, now is a great time to check it out! Since eBird data is best when collected at fine scales, and since CBC data is best when tallied bird-by-bird through the day, using eBird Mobile to submit to eBird and tally for CBCs is ideal. Below we give some brief instructions for how to use eBird Mobile this CBC season; please see also our article on how to use eBird on your CBCs.

In decades past, at the end of a day’s birding was the “tally”, which involved a whole lot of painstaking addition to decipher the chicken scratchings in our notebooks and add up the totals for a full day. Common birds seen in small numbers all day long were always the worst, with line after line of hash marks for chickadees and goldfinches and crows.

Now, with eBird Mobile, this solution is simple and the tally-up at the end of the day is a much more enjoyable chance to eat chili, reminisce about the day, and not fret over the process of adding up birds from your notebook.

iOS users:

1) Collect your checklists in eBird Mobile all day long. Be sure to carefully check your list after each stop. We find that it is best *not* to submit until the end of the day, since species that inadvertently get left off are hard to correct once submitted and are left off the tally feature below.

2) At the end of the day, click Trip Summary and open your “Day Total”. If you did owling or birding that you don’t want counted, you can define a customized period across which to tally the birds using the “Trip Summary” option.

3) Double-check the eBird Mobile list and tallies.

Android users:

A “Trip Summary” feature is not yet available, but using eBird to tally your observations is still quite easy once you submit your checklists to eBird. If you keep data from multiple locations that you need to add up, you can make a Trip Report in eBird. If you select the day of the CBC as your start date and then select only the locations you visited on the count, you’ll get an accurate tally for the day.

When conducting a Christmas Bird Count, it is especially important to make sure your checklist locations are accurate. This link provides some tips and tricks for getting started with eBird Mobile.