Have you ever uploaded a photo or audio recording to an eBird checklist, only to realize after the fact that it’s under the wrong species? Then you had to delete the photo from eBird, go back to your photo archive, and re-upload to the new species. Or if a reviewer notified you about an error on a checklist, just changing an observation could be a bit tricky as well—especially if you had notes, breeding codes, and age/sex information to move over to the new species. This all got a lot easier today: we are excited to announce a new and easy way to edit your checklists with the Change Species button on the checklist editing page. Go to “Manage My Checklists” and choose “Edit Species List” while viewing one of your eBird checklists to change any of your species. With all of the great eBird data entered for Pennsylvania, it is easy to make an error but now we can correct these errors more readily. With all the warblers, shorebirds, gulls, and other challenging groups, there is always room for error and also for learning. We “inland” birders can be particularly challenged by water birds we don’t see in Pennsylvania very often.
We all try to report our birds accurately in eBird, making our identifications carefully based on what we observed conclusively in the field. But we all make mistakes too, or might want to change to be more specific or less specific with or identification. For example, moving from “shorebird sp.” to a specific species or moving from Greater Yellowlegs to “Greater/Lesser Yellowlegs” if we are less sure of our ID.
When we are uploading photos and audio, we might have several reasons to want to make a change to an identification or to just subsets of our uploaded media. With the new Change Species option, we can revise any observation as needed. Below are a few examples.
Gulls give almost everyone headaches…even when you have photos. So we are using a couple widespread and challenging gulls (high-value vagrants in the Old World and Australasia) as examples.
Perhaps you misidentified a bird or want to revise an identification for another reason (e.g., perhaps you a “Laughing/Franklin’s Gull sighting, but then were able to conclusively identify the bird in your photos as Laughing Gull). They were nesting on the beach, so you already added Breeding Codes and some additional notes, as well as photos and audio recordings. In this case, you would want to change the entire record, including all associated notes, breeding codes, audio, and photos. To change an entire record, just click the Change Species option that is on the same line as the species count and select the “Entire observation: my media, counts, breeding codes, and details” choice.
Maybe you saw both Laughing and Franklin’s Gulls at the beach, and carefully distinguished the two species. But when it came time to upload the photos you were working with small thumbnails and you dropped them in the completely wrong species: all six photos of Franklin’s Gull ended up in Laughing Gull and you dropped the one Laughing Gull photo in your Franklin’s Gull record. Your birding buddies pointed out your mistake (hopefully they were nice about it!). So in this case, you might want to move all six photos under Laughing Gull to Franklin’s Gull. Again, you would click the Change Species option on the same line as the count, but this time you would pick “Only my media: photos and audio”
Perhaps you accidentally dropped just one Laughing Gull picture among your Franklin’s Gull photos. Moving a single photo is just as easy: just click the Change Species button to the right of the photo.
Since the species selection list taps into our entire taxonomy (just like the “Add a species” menu) please be careful with what you add. The species you select may not be on the filter for the local area, so please make sure that the name matches exactly with what you expect. Showing the scientific name in your eBird preferences can be a good way to help check the names. Please also be careful not to select a subspecies if you do not intend it.
Whether responding to a reviewer email about a mis-entered photo, or coming to a new conclusion on a previous identification, Change Species makes it easier than ever. Enjoy!