New Year’s Resolution: eBird

Today I began keeping a New Year’s Resolution to post at least one report a week this year to eBird.

eBird is an online checklist program maintained by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Audubon Society. Its purpose is to collect information on bird distribution and numbers. Currently observations are collected throughout North and South America, Antarctica and New Zealand, with plans eventually to expand data collection worldwide.

Participants also can use eBird to maintain personal birding records, and the website includes a number of internet tools – interactive maps, graphs, bar charts, summaries – that may be of interest.

For myself, the main reason I want to participate is to do what I can to help develop a better understanding of birds and their distribution and status, especially so that we might learn better how to help and protect them. I’ve submitted checklists sporadically over the past couple of years – but this year hope to contribute regularly. At the end of a year or two, I’ll be interested to look back and see what changes, if any, are reflected in the species and numbers of birds in my own neighborhood and other places where I bird regularly.

Birders of all levels are encouraged to participate, and it’s easy to do. You fill out a simple form on the eBird website with information on when, where and how you went birding on a particular day, and complete a checklist of all the birds seen and heard during the outing. You can also provide and track more detailed information – but the checklist is the basic tool.

The biggest drawback for me in using eBird has been that I don’t usually count birds – I like just to be out walking, watching and enjoying, and don’t want the pressure of counting to spoil that. But I’ve decided to give it a try, in the belief that the trouble it takes may be well worth the results. I should add that you don’t have to include the numbers of birds seen when you submit a checklist – but counts are definitely encouraged.

For more information, see

Leave a Reply