Volunteers are the “green energy” that drives the activities of the Lane Audubon chapter. The…
We can thank the Cornell Lab of Ornithology for eBird. Begun in 2002, this birding tool has transformed our abilities to record and share data about the birds we see, anywhere in the world. eBird’s goal is to gather each person’s bird sightings in the form of checklists with location, archive it, and freely share it to power new data-driven approaches to science, conservation, and education. Birders are able to manage their lists, photos, and audio recordings, access real-time maps of species distribution, and receive alerts that let them know when a species of interest has been seen, all through the eBird platform. By participating in eBird data collection, a birder is joining the world’s largest birding community and contributing to science and conservation.
This huge eBird metadata resource gives researchers studying bird species access to the global data for monitoring, species management, habitat protection, and informing law and policy. eBird is among the world’s largest biodiversity-related science projects, with more than 100 million bird sightings contributed annually by eBirders around the world. This number continues to grow.
You can mine this huge database at the eBird web site to look for target species, or to look up a birding hot spot before you visit to see what is being seen there. A birder can monitor migrations of a bird species of interest such as Snowy Owls that occasionally come south during the winter. In the spring, one can look for sightings of Vaux’s Swifts to see how their northward migration is progressing. The data is continuously collected and updated so we can see the current information in a way never before possible.
Looking at the various animations eBird has created is one of my favorite aspects of this database. For example, the Vaux’s Swifts’ status and trends can be evaluated using the eBird link at: ebird.org/science/status-and-trends/vauswi.
Whether you use eBird for your own personal bird list and photos or to learn new locations for birding or for the big picture aspects that eBird offers, it is truly a marvel!
I am one of those dinosaurs, who have not yet made a leap to this technology, mainly because I do not have cell service at my home where I do 90 percent of my birding. I’m anxious to learn more about eBird, however, as it is an exciting new technology for one of my favorite pastimes. And I am an advocate for anything that ultimately helps the birds!