January 28, 2010
It’s been a while since our last update, and we have lots of news to share. Much of the second half of 2009 was dedicated to improving overall performance, and migrating eBird to a newer, more powerful database server. We’re happy to say that the migration was completed during early January 2010, and you’ll probably notice the improved performance on many eBird tools. In addition, we’ve launched two new eBird projects, the “eBird Site Survey” and “eBird County Birding,” collaborated on the development of a new iPhone app called “BirdsEye,” initiated a new feature on the website called “eBirder of the Month,” and launched a new alert system for rare birds. Also, don’t forget to get out this February and help count Rusty Blackbirds during the second annual Rusty Blackbird Blitz! See below for more details.
From its inception, the grand hypothesis of eBird has been that the observations of birders can make a valuable contribution to understanding broad-scale patterns of bird distribution and abundance. With its vast geographic scope and dedicated contributors, eBird has a growing capacity to help answer questions about birds at scales never before imaginable. As the eBird dataset continues to mature, scientists are just beginning to explore and tap its potential. Early results are promising, and thanks to our close working relationship with talented computer scientists and biologists, we’ve identified two ways that you can help greatly improve the utility of the eBird dataset. We’ve recently launched two new projects within eBird: The eBird Site Survey and eBird County Birding. The goal of each initiative uniquely addresses the needs identified through our collaboration with the researchers who are using your data directly.
BirdsEye is the first iPhone app to harness the eBird database as a source for bird-finding information. You can use any of several tools to pull up bird data, and can get directions to the location where any bird was reported. The application can pull data from your current location (or you can select the location) and will let you:
- Find nearby birds—All birds seen within about 30 miles
- Locate a bird—See nearest reports for any of about 850 species
- View birding hotspots—Find nearby birding hotspots and see what has been reported there
- Access content—See pictures, hear sounds, and read bird-finding tips from Kenn Kaufman for any species
- Record your life list
BirdsEye is now available on the App Store; be sure to provide a review if you get it!
We’d like to introduce a new feature: "eBirder of the Month." The goal is to highlight how an individual is using eBird to inspire others to follow in their footsteps. One does not need to be a well-traveled or expert birder to be featured. Anyone who uses eBird is eligible, provided she or he understands the overarching goals of eBird and is committed to using the program regularly and properly. We are particularly interested in featuring people who are participating in our eBird Site Survey or County Birding initiatives. If you know of a candidate for the next eBirder of the month, please contact us. We are proud to introduce Jane Stulp of Colorado, and David Suddjian of California as the December 2009 and January 2010 eBirders of the month. Congratulations, Jane and David!
We are very excited to introduce a new feature: eBird Alerts! By going to the eBird Alerts page from "View and Explore Data" you can view a list of all the national-level rarities recently reported in North America and Canada. These are defined by the ABA Codes, which we explain below. You have the option to subscribe hourly (!), daily, or just to visit this page and click to see the results from the past seven days. In the near future, we hope to add similar alerts for birds you "need" (i.e., birds not already on your eBird list) for a given state or province. So please, sign up for our ABA Alerts to keep up on what rarities—like Ivory Gulls—are being reported around the country!
Black-bellied Plover – Photograph by Brian Sullivan; David Suddjian – Photograph by Aaron Suddjian; Ivory Gull – Photograph by Marshall Iliff
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The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s mission is to interpret and conserve the earth’s biological diversity through research, education, and citizen science focused on birds. Your support helps us solve critical problems facing birds and other wildlife by using the best science and technology–and by inspiring people of all ages and walks of life to care about and protect the planet.
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