eBird’s commitment to addressing inequality and building community

By Team eBird June 17, 2020
Painted Bunting Passerina ciris

eBird is a global community united by our love of birds. It is a place where we share our observations, our photographs, and our audio recordings of the birds we love. And in this process, we also share some of each of ourselves. We come together united by the belief that our collective experiences and observations will ultimately make the world a better place for birds and people.

eBird is a place for shared birding experiences no matter who you are. The reality is that not everybody has the same access and opportunities to enjoy birds. Christian Cooper’s recent experience in Central Park, New York City, where he was wrongly accused of threatening violence while birdwatching, alongside the needless deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and many other Black Americans, leave no room for doubt that widespread racial injustice persists in our society. These examples from the United States remind us that similar inequalities exist globally. And they highlight the work we, as a community, must do to make birdwatching more universally welcoming and accessible.

This work starts with self-reflection and acknowledgement that not all groups have the same experiences during outdoor activities that others enjoy. We have been listening and learning from the experiences shared as part of last week’s #BlackBirdersWeek, organized by @BlackAFinSTEM to amplify voices from Black birders. Team eBird strongly supports such community-building events. As we follow #BecauseofBlackBirdersWeek, we will continue to learn from voiced experiences, and identify more ways that eBird can contribute towards equal and safe access to the natural world.

We are committed to making outdoor spaces more welcoming for people of all races, backgrounds, and beliefs to participate in and share their birding experiences. In order to monitor and protect all bird species globally, eBird must be proactive in ensuring that birding opportunities are available to everyone. But, make no mistake about it, we can’t do this alone. We need your ideas and your passion to help make birding more just, more more inclusive, and more accessible.

To learn more about the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s stance on racial injustice and inequity, please read this message from our director to the Cornell Lab community.

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