Be an eBirder and help our birds

Whether or not you keep your own personal life lists of bird species seen, all birders can contribute to the research done by professional ornithologists and so help conserve our birds, by reporting the birds that you do see to the continent-wide database that goes under the name of eBird. We at BPQ encourage all birders to consider doing this – it takes just a few minutes each time you have been birding and helps to build up a picture of where birds are and when and to give early warnings of problems in population and distribution.

Please consider helping the birding world in this small way – every sighting is important, every sighting helps build the knowledge we need to keep the birds with us.

You can access eBird Canada’s Quebec portal via this link.

Here is some information from the eBird website …

What is eBird?

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 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.

How does it work?

eBird documents the presence or absence of species, as well as bird abundance through checklist data. A simple and intuitive web-interface engages tens of thousands of participants to submit their observations or view results via interactive queries into the eBird database. eBird encourages users to participate by providing Internet tools that maintain their personal bird records and enable them to visualize data with interactive maps, graphs, and bar charts. All these features are available in English, Spanish, and French.

A birder simply enters when, where, and how they went birding, then fills out a checklist of all the birds seen and heard during the outing. eBird provides various options for data gathering including point counts, transects, and area searches. Automated data quality filters developed by regional bird experts review all submissions before they enter the database. Local experts review unusual records that are flagged by the filters.

Data integration

eBird collects observations from birders through portals managed and maintained by local partner conservation organizations. In this way eBird targets specific audiences with the highest level of local expertise, promotion, and project ownership. Portals may have a regional focus (aVerAves, eBird Puerto Rico) or they may have more specific goals and/or specific methodologies (Louisiana Winter Bird Atlas, Bird Conservation Network eBird). Each eBird portal is fully integrated within the eBird database and application infrastructure so that data can be analyzed across political and geographic boundaries. For example, observers entering observations of Cape May Warbler from Puerto Rico can view those data separately, or with the entire Cape May Warbler data set gathered by eBird across the western hemisphere.

Data accessibility

eBird data are stored in a secure facility and archived daily, and are accessible to anyone via the eBird web site and other applications developed by the global biodiversity information community. For example, eBird data are part of the Avian Knowledge Network (AKN), which integrates observational data on bird populations across the western hemisphere. In turn, the AKN feeds eBird data to international biodiversity data systems, such as the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). In this way any contribution made to eBird increases our understanding of the distribution, richness, and uniqueness of the biodiversity of our planet.

Why Should I eBird?

Every time that you see and identify a bird, you are holding a piece of a puzzle. Whether you are casually watching birds in your backyard, or chasing rare species across the country, you are helping to put this puzzle together.
It might be a personal puzzle. For example, you might wonder when Red-winged Blackbirds appear each spring or what time of day the Mourning Doves take a bath in your garden pond. Each time that you see and identify one of these birds—so long as you note the time and date—one piece of the puzzle falls into place.Or it might be a regional puzzle. For instance, scientists might be wondering how quickly House Finches are spreading throughout your region or how rapidly Henslow’s Sparrows are declining. Each time that you identify and count the numbers of one of these species, you are piecing together a part of that puzzle.Or it might be an international puzzle. Each year during migration, hundreds of species fly from southern wintering grounds to northern breeding grounds, following the flush of summer insects. When do they leave? Where do they breed? And when do they return home? Whether recording common birds in your backyard or searching for rarities out in the countryside, your sightings of these birds – with time, date, and location included – are pieces that can help ornithologists put together the parts of that huge puzzle, day by day, week by week, and year by year.

Unfortunately, just like puzzle pieces, these observations lose their value if they remain separate from one another. The sightings tucked away in your memory, or in your desk drawer, or in an old shoebox in your closet leave gaps in a partially completed picture. In truth, the only way that all these bird sightings make a contribution to our understanding of nature is when they are collected and organized into a central database where they can help complete a picture of the life of birds.

You can access your own bird records anytime you want, allowing you an easy way to look at your observations in new ways and to answer your personal questions about what birds you saw and when and where you saw them.

eBird is this database. With thousands of birdwatchers across the continent helping to construct it by contributing their sightings, eBird will soon become a vast source of bird and environmental information useful not only to bird watchers but to scientists and conservationists the world over. Want to find out what birds you’ll see on your vacation? Want to know the closest spot to find a Least Bittern, or a reliable spot for Townsend’s Warbler? Want to learn whether the Crow population is growing in your part of the world? Want to see if endangered Least Terns are continuing their decline?

By keeping track of your bird observations and entering them into the eBird database, you’ll benefit, too. You can access your own bird records anytime you want, allowing you an easy way to look at your observations in new ways and to answer your personal questions about what birds you saw and when and where you saw them.

If you use the eBird web site to enter all your birding information—and get your friends, family members, students, and colleagues to use it as well—before long the answers to the never ending questions about birds will be found in the eBird database, for use now and for generations that will follow.