October eBirder of the Month Challenge

Burrowing Owl by Ryan Shaw/Macaulay Library

This month’s eBirder of the Month challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics, will keep get you snapping photos and recording bird sounds. Every time you take a photo or hold out a microphone, you’re creating an incredibly powerful piece of data. Media help document records, provide resources for learning and education, and also pave the way for future eBird and birding tools like Merlin Photo ID. The eBirder of the month will be drawn from eBirders who submit 15 or more eligible checklists in September containing at least one rated photo or sound. 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.

In just under two years, the eBird/Macaulay Library partnership has resulted in more than 4.5 million photos and sounds added to eBird checklists and archived in the Macaulay Library. Incredible. This collection has become an unparalleled resource to document bird sightings worldwide, as well as providing an exceedingly valuable dataset for researchers and birders worldwide. As this collection continues to grow, being able to sort out specific photos becomes increasingly important. Learn how to rate images to make your photos as useful as they can be.

One of the most exciting uses of this media collection has been for Merlin Photo ID—automatic identification of bird photos. Merlin Photo ID now works for more than 1,500 species in the Americas and Europe, and will continue to expand in the coming months and years. In the future we plan to also integrate Merlin Photo ID into the eBird/Macaulay upload process, helping provide real-time feedback on your bird sightings as you add images.

The sightings and photos that you have contributed through eBird have made Merlin Photo ID possible. The best part about this is that you can help! By taking part in this month’s eBirder of the Month Challenge, your photos help make it possible for us to deliver the best Merlin, and eBird, that we can. Add your photos and sounds today.

Merlin Photo ID lets you automatically identify photos of more than 1500 species. With every photo you add to an eBird checklist, we get closer to being able to make this available for free for every bird in the world.

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. In addition, don’t forget about the 2017 Checklist-a-day Challenge—can you submit 365 eligible checklists this year?

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.”

Find out more:

eBirder of the Month