Help capture sights and sounds with your smartphone

By Team eBird 27 May 2016

Bay-breasted Warbler by Cory "Chia" Chiappone /Macaulay Library

Spring migration! For North American birders, those two words instantly conjure up images of colorful warblers, flashy tanagers and orioles, and a host of other long-awaited Neotropical migrants. Spring migration also means the peak time for bird sound activity across much of the world; especially the northern hemisphere. Newly-arrived breeders have added their voices to the growing dawn chorus, while in the eastern US boreal breeders like Tennessee Warbler and Blackpoll Warblers can be heard singing regularly as they continue their northward migration. This year, with the new eBird/Macaulay Library media upload tool, birders have the opportunity to document the sights and sounds of spring migration in a way that has never before been possible. This exciting tool offers birders the ability to upload up to 10 pieces of rich media (photos or audio recordings) for each species observation in an eBird checklist. So, when you’re out in the field enjoying warblers and other migrants this spring, we encourage you to capture as many images and recordings as you can, and then upload them to your eBird checklists when you get back home. If your area isn’t currently in the throes of migration—don’t worry! We’d love to listen to your recordings of birds from anywhere, at any time.

If you’ve thought about making sound recordings with your smartphone, but aren’t sure how to get started, the Macaulay Library staff have some suggestions on how to make the best possible recordings with a smartphone. There is also a recording techniques document that is helpful for recording with a smartphone or other recording devices. When you’re ready to upload recordings to your checklist for the first time, this short video will walk you through the major steps of the editing and uploading process.

The only bad thing about spring migration is that it ends too soon. But, with your efforts and the new eBird/ML upload tool, it’s now possible to preserve the sights and sounds of this incredible spectacle for future generations.