New Year’s Resolution 2022: eBird

By Team eBird December 30, 2021
Pied Stilt Himantopus leucocephalus

New Year’s Resolutions are fun personal goals that can help you to improve your birding skills and stay engaged with eBird and birding. Whether you are a new or a longtime birder, you may be thinking about what new challenge to take on in 2022. Let this be the year to step up your eBirding! Here are a few of our favorite ideas for eBird resolutions:

Take the eBird plunge

Some active birders have yet to submit their first eBird checklist. Do you have a slight pang of guilt each time you receive an eBird Alert, feeling that you should be submitting your sightings too? It’s okay, many of us have been there. Let 2022 be a chance to share your bird reports with others, just as their reports have helped you.

The best way to start eBirding is with our free online course. Our online Help Center has even more tips to get started with eBird. Submit observations online or via eBird Mobile to see just how easy it is to join the world’s largest birding community.

Find 10 bird species that are new for you

One area where eBird really excels is showing you where to find birds. Whether you want a map of sightings for any species of bird, or ideas for where to go birding near you, eBird has it. In 2022, use the eBird Explore Data and Target Species tools (also available on eBird Mobile) to help you find ten new bird species—whether they’re new for your home, your county, your state, or your entire life. The free Merlin Bird ID app can help you identify unfamiliar birds and add even more new species to your lists.

If you’ve run out of new species to find nearby, try crossing species off your photo and audio recording targets instead.

Keep a year list (or beat last year’s list)

Keeping a year list is one of the great pleasures of birding. Year lists are a New Year’s Resolution commitment to keep eBirding. You could try a year list for your state or province, but you might find that keeping a year list for your home or patch is an even more fun personal challenge. The smaller the area, the better you’ll get to know it— which makes adding new species all the more exciting!

Your year list for a country, state, county, patch, or your yard can be easily tracked with your Sightings Lists, the Yard/Patch tools, or eBird Mobile.As the year progresses, year lists become about strategy: how to find species that have eluded you thus far and beat your previous years’ species totals.

eBirding over time charts, available on My eBird and eBird Mobile, track your end-of-year totals and show whether you’re ahead or behind last year’s total on the same date. Below, the fact that the 20 December total is 6 species behind 2015’s total can only mean one thing: time to go birding!

Enter your pre-eBird data

Is your life list larger than what is shown on your My eBird page? Maybe you have been meaning to enter old records that you’d like to have in eBird? Entering lists from the past is easy. When your lists are up-to-date in eBird, a whole new suite of cool, powerful tools become available: customized Needs Alerts, lists of Target Species with maps of where to find them, and much more.

If you don’t have a start time, duration, or distance—don’t worry! All you need is an accurate location and date. Use the Historical protocol if you don’t have complete effort information (e.g., you know the start time, but not duration) and Incidental is always a fine way to submit past observations when birding wasn’t your primary purpose. Learn more about entering pre-eBird lists.

Fretting about moving over from another platform to eBird? We also have easy ways to import from most other programs.

Adopt a patch

Anyone can adopt a patch; think of it as any park, walking loop, or birdy area that you like to visit regularly. Start tracking the number of complete checklists you submit and see if you can beat your previous year’s checklist totals from that patch.

Don’t forget to check out the bar chart for your patch. Does your existing patch have gaps in the bar chart? Fill in those blanks!

eBird “bar chart” for a patch, showing the occurrence of a species for each week of the year. Goal for 2022: submit an eBird checklist from the patch on the third week of June!

Fill gaps in an Illustrated Checklist

Visit the Illustrated Checklist for your county, state, province, or favorite local hotspot. Can you contribute any missing photos, or improve upon the existing ones? Audio recordings tend to be underrepresented in many places, so a good audio sample, even with your phone can help fill a gap.

With a single click, you can check for gaps and plan your goals for 2022. For example, British Columbia has the largest species list in Canada (515 species!) But if you click the two rightmost numbers at the top of the page you can see that 24 species need photos and 181 need audio recordings.

By contributing missing media, the Macaulay Library will become an even more powerful resource to assess how bird plumages, songs, molt, and more vary across the planet.

Take the “Checklist a Day” challenge

Step up to the ultimate eBirding challenge! This year’s “Checklist a Day” challenge will draw three winners from among those who submit an average of at least one complete checklist per day in 2022 (i.e., 365 lists total for 2022). The eBird homepage helps track your “Checklist Streak” if you want to try for 365 consecutive days (not required for the challenge, but fun to try).

Checklist a Day Tip: Try to get in the habit of doing at least one short count in your yard every day—even a five-minute count helps to keep a pulse on the birds at a location that only you can survey.

Enjoy!

Those of us at Team eBird have our own New Year’s Resolutions. In addition to our personal eBirding goals, we’ll remain committed to developing new features that make your observations, photos, audio recordings, and data even more valuable—and we’ll continue to highlight the best and most fun aspects of birding from around the world.

No matter what goals you set for yourself, we hope you’ll spend 2022 enjoying the birds around you. As part of the global eBird team, your birding becomes much more: a chance to share your observations with others, to bolster a worldwide appreciation for birds, and to contribute to new science and important conservation. We could not do it without your participation. Thank you!

State-of-the-art statistical models such as this detailed abundance map for Barn Swallow are made possible by eBirders like you.