Please join us in congratulating Corey Finger of Queens, New York, winner of the July 2016 eBird Challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics. Our July winner was drawn from among those who submitted at least 31 complete no-X checklists during July. Corey’s name was drawn randomly from the 1,720 eBirders who achieved the July challenge threshold. Corey will receive new ZEISS Conquest HD 8×42 binoculars for his eBirding efforts. We asked Corey to tell us a little more about himself, his use of eBird, and his love of birds – read on for more!
There are few things I like to do more than sit on my balcony with a Mojito, my binoculars, and my iPhone when I get home from work in the summertime. Though I live in Queens and don’t have a yard, I have still seen over 90 species from my balcony, across more than 1,000 eBird checklists. It is eBird that makes keeping lists like my balcony list easy, fun, and continually motivating. All I have to do is enter my sightings and the list is kept for me! And, not only that, but my tracking the minutiae of what birds and how many are using my urban neighborhood is actually scientifically useful information! What more can you ask for when relaxing on your balcony with a Mojito? Here is an example of a July list from my balcony.
I started eBirding a couple of years after I caught the birding bug, and I believe it has made me a better birder. Before I started eBirding I kept day lists with each species I saw for the day: no location, effort, or any other kind of information. With eBird I am reminded to keep track of how many of each species I saw, how long I was in the field for, and exactly where I was.
Using the eBird Mobile app is also very helpful. I stop periodically during my birding outings and update the checklist with what I have seen. It is amazing to me how many of the common species I actually see! If I had to guess at the end of a couple of hours I might think I had three or four Song Sparrows, but by keeping track as I go I realize that I actually saw or heard fifteen.
I’m thrilled to be the July eBirder of the Month, especially with the requirement of having to use no Xs—inputting exact numbers of birds (or at least my best guess) instead of just using “X” to indicate presence. Providing the most accurate information I can into eBird is personally rewarding when I want to go back and remember what I saw when, and also makes an incredibly fun hobby have greater meaning for conservation and research.
Thanks to the whole eBird team!