Introducing the eBird Hotspot Explorer!

By Team eBird September 12, 2013
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For the first time birders can explore eBird’s site information in a map-based tool designed to provide quick access to the information they need.  Discover the best places for birding nearby or around the world. The Hotspot Explorer provides a completely new way to plan birding trips, putting millions of records from over 100,000 eBirders around the world into your hands. At a glance, you can see which birding locations have the most species. You can filter to show only the results for a particular month, or for the last 10 years, or sites with visits during the last month. The hotspot explorer may even help reveal some hidden gems near you that you never knew about!

The Hotspot Explorer can be accessed via eBird’s View and Explore tab or by clicking here. When you first arrive at the map, you see a broad grid representing species diversity. The hottest areas are bright red. Click on any grid cell to see the diversity value. Zoom in to see finer grid cells, and zoom in further to view individual hotspots (also coded by diversity). You can restrict month/year range at the top of the page to refine what information the Hotspot Explorer returns. NOTE: The grid cells show overall diversity for that grid cell, including personal locations (not the diversity at hotspots); it is possible to have a grid cell with 100 species but no hotspots.

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North American bird diversity as shown in the initial view of the eBird Hotspot Explorer.

When you zoom in and reveal the hotspots, you can click on the locations to get a quick pop-up summary of the information from that location.
Hotspot Explorer view of the Mid-Atlantic region. Note the bright red at the tip of Cape May Point, NJ. Click on any hotspot to get details.

Hotspot Explorer view of the Mid-Atlantic region. Note the bright red at the tip of Cape May Point, NJ. Click on any hotspot to get details about how many birds have been seen there, as well as how many checklists have been submitted.

When you click the “View Details” option on a hotspot pop-up, you get a new page specific to that location with data summaries and more information relevant to eBirders (e.g., Top 10 eBirders for every hotspot including your ranking, recent checklists). The most recent sightings list is a full species list for the hotspot. You can expand this to see the images, audio files, and comments by clicking the “Show All Details”. “Recent Visits” gives you quick links to the latest checklists submitted from the hotspot. You can also link directly to the Bar Charts or High Counts for a hotspot from this page.
Hotspot Explorer details page for "Cape May Point SP--Hawkwatch Platform".

Hotspot Explorer details page for the “Hawkwatch Platform” at Cape May.

You can search for a hotspot by name using the search bar on the upper left. Now you can type and find “Madera Canyon” and see all the options available for that location. You can also quickly zoom into an area of interest by using the location search box on the upper right.

In addition to the very best hotspots, see if you can also find some areas that aren’t as well covered. Can you make it into the Top 10 for all time? For a single month?

We hope you enjoy this new way to explore information in eBird. Take it for a spin and let us know what you think by using the Send Feedback button at the top of the page. Stay tuned for future updates to the eBird Hotspot Explorer.

NOTE: If you have birded a location that is not a hotspot, and you would like it to become one, please review this article on how to suggest a hotspot from your Manage My Locations page in eBird.