Thursday, January 3, 2013

Help Birds and Learn With eBird

Indigo Bunting (c) 2009 High Virginia Images
As 2012 gives way to 2013, this is the time for New Year's resolutions. This year, why not make your New Year's resolution to use eBird...or to use eBird more often. In 2012 eBird received 33,862,411 observations on 2,460,415 checklists from 38,899 observers--a 45% increase over 2011. eBird thrives on data, since the models used to create animated migration maps and guide conservation efforts, such as those highlighted in the State of the Birds report, perform best with large amounts of data. In eBird, every observation matters and no sighting is insignificant--daily counts of House Sparrows at an urban feeder are just as valuable as surveys of remote islands full of rare birds. Our goal is to understand what's happening with birds anywhere, anytime, and in order to do that best, we need all of your sightings. In 2013, please consider committing to submitting one eBird checklist a week. If you are ambitious, shoot for one a day. Each checklist can be as simple as 5 or 10 minutes spent watching birds in your backyard or a 30 minute walk in a nearby park.

Give eBird a try, you'll like it and you WILL learn something from the experience. You can compile your own data of observations and help with bird conservation world-wide. I started out with eBird in 2006 and began by just entering observations from my yard on a weekly basis. With that data, I can now tell you within a couple of days when a particular species may be seen around here. I know it is time to plant the potatoes on the day the first Catbird arrives, too. Best of all, it is FREE and will not hurt you one little bit !!

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