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eBirding for the spring

Posted on Apr 21, 2014

As we enter the spring season and the peak of avian migration I want everyone to be aware of eBird (www.ebird.org) and its importance to conservation, education, and research on a global level. If you have never given eBird a look now is the time. I have used eBird for nearly 10 years and can attest to its ease of use, strength as a reference resource and helpful tool for one’s personal records. The eBird site describes it as:

A real-time, online checklist program, eBird has revolutionized the way that the birding community reports and accesses information about birds. Launched in 2002 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, eBird provides rich data sources for basic information on bird abundance and distribution at a variety of spatial and temporal scales.

eBird’s goal is to maximize the utility and accessibility of the vast numbers of bird observations made each year by recreational and professional bird watchers. It is amassing one of the largest and fastest growing biodiversity data resources in existence. For example, in March 2012, participants reported more than 3.1 million bird observations across North America!

The observations of each participant join those of others in an international network of eBird users. eBird then shares these observations with a global community of educators, land managers, ornithologists, and conservation biologists. In time these data will become the foundation for a better understanding of bird distribution across the western hemisphere and beyond.

We use eBird and its records extensively at RTPI with a good example being our work this past winter with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation in keeping up with movements of important wintering species in Western New York like the Short-eared Owl or Northern Harrier via records entered by our friends and volunteers.

Snowy Egrets

You can also help us out this nesting season with eBird. Long-legged waders like these Snowy Egrets (Egretta thula) have arrived in good numbers in the last couple of weeks in the northeast. If you’re in Connecticut and have any eBird checklist containing any waders, shorebirds or terns of any species this season please share it with us in the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds via ctwaterbirds@gmail.com.

Whatever state or country you are in the more you eBird the more you help the birds we love and conservation on a global level. Thank you in advance for assisting our universal mission to learn, love and protect our environment!

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation & Outreach Coordinator

Photo © Twan Leenders