This month’s eBirder of the month challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics, will keep your binoculars pointed towards the sky. As the seasons turn over in September, the movement of birds begins perhaps the best part of a birder’s year: migration. Whether you’re north of the equator for fall, or enjoying an austral spring, things are happening! Migratory restlessness may result in local movements of 10s of kilometers, or something as drastic as undertaking herculean journeys that take shorebirds from the Arctic to the edge of the southern continents. The most amazing part of all of this is that you can witness it, wherever you are. The eBirder of the month will be drawn from eBirders who submit 15 or more eligible checklists in September containing at least one “Flyover” code. Checklists must be for observations during this month; not historical checklists entered during September. Winners will be notified by the 10th of the following month.
Sometimes it might feel like you need to have access to one of the great “migrant traps” of the world to witness migration in action: Cape May, NJ; Falsterbo, Sweden; Point Reyes, CA; Khao Dinsor, Thailand; or any of the many other peninsulas and avian focusing points in the world. Don’t worry, that isn’t true—migration is everywhere! While active migration may often be most visible at these great concentration points, many birds move in broad fronts across every continent, and birders anywhere can do a great job of documenting this amazing annual cycle this by entering your data into eBird. This month we encourage you to look for signs of visible migration at your favorite birding sites by recording all high flying birds as ‘Flyovers’ on each checklist you submit. These could be anything from songbirds flying over and not using the habitat, or raptors soaring overhead, en route to parts unknown. Not all flyovers are migrants, but any bird that is passing overhead, not using the habitat that you’re standing in, should be marked as a Flyover. Learn more about the Flyover code here.
During the course of your eBirding this month, many of the birds you see and hear will be local residents, and you can record these on your checklists as you normally would. However, you’ll also likely detect some high-flying birds, perhaps swallows, raptors, or waterfowl. You should record these birds as ‘flyovers’ using the “F-Flyover” breeding code that is available if you click the “Show details” button next to the species in the checklist entry process, and then use the drop down list for “Breeding Codes.” Stay tuned for an update to eBird Mobile in the next couple weeks that will allow this through the mobile app as well. Recording your flyover birds in this way will help analysts determine which birds are actually using the habitat you’re standing in, versus just flying over on migration or other local movements. Best of luck, and enjoy the magic of migration wherever you may be!
Each month we will feature a new eBird challenge and set of selection criteria. The monthly winners will each receive a new ZEISS Conquest HD 8×42 binocular.
Carl Zeiss Sports Optics is a proven leader in sports optics and is the official optics sponsor for eBird. “Carl Zeiss feels strongly that by partnering with the Cornell Lab we can provide meaningful support for their ability to carry out their research, conservation, and education work around the world,” says Mike Jensen, President of Carl Zeiss Sports Optics, North America. “The Cornell Lab is making a difference for birds, and from the highest levels of our company we’re committed to promoting birding and the Lab’s work, so there’s a great collaboration. eBird is a truly unique and synergistic portal between the Lab and birders, and we welcome the opportunity to support them both.”
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