Contact: Pat Leonard
One Million Checklists for eBird—and Counting!
January 8, 2008
The eBird online checklist program has surpassed one-million reports! In December, John Beetham of Highland Park, New Jersey, submitted the millionth checklist and will receive a pair of Zeiss 8x30 Conquest binoculars to commemorate this milestone. He says, “Contributing sightings to eBird is an extension of activities that I enjoy doing anyway. Birding is at its best when it is both a personal challenge and a contribution to bird conservation.” Beetham reported 34 species from Liberty State Park, including 60 Snow Buntings and one lingering Ruby-crowned Kinglet.
eBird (www.ebird.org) is a free, year-round, online checklist program that takes in bird observations from all of North America, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. Launched in 2002, eBird is coordinated by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society with sponsorship from Carl Zeiss Sports Optics. Approximately 30,000 people now contribute their sightings to eBird.
“We’ve grown tremendously,” says eBird project co-leader Chris Wood. “Just three years ago we took in about 5,000 checklists each month. Now we’re up to about 50,000 a month. All that information makes it much easier to see patterns of bird distribution across the Western Hemisphere so that scientists can track how those patterns may be changing over time. We like to call participation in eBird ‘birding with a purpose.’” All eBird sightings become part of a huge database that anyone can explore using maps and charts focusing on the entire continent, a region, or even their own backyard.
eBird leaders continue to expand the project’s reach and to find new ways to make the data available for bird conservation. For example, eBird reports are among the data being used to compare populations of seabirds before and after a recent oil spill in San Francisco Bay. The high level of participation in eBird should also reveal more about the sporadic southward movement of birds from the far north of the continent, such as Bohemian Waxwings and Pine Grosbeaks. One of the largest “irruptions” in years is taking place this winter.
Stephen Ingraham of Zeiss calls eBird a “ground breaking” effort to harness the observations of birders for science and conservation. “At Carl Zeiss Sports Optics we believe that people who are serious about observing nature can make a difference in our understanding of nature, and in our ability to conserve the natural world around us,” Ingraham says. “Our partnership with eBird is part of our larger commitment to both conservation and citizen science.”
The commitment made by tens of thousands of birders like John Beetham makes eBird a powerful tool. “It's important for birders to be involved with projects such as eBird, and other bird surveys because of the vulnerable status of many species,” he says. “I feel that our reports can help pinpoint problems while there is time to fix them.”
To learn more about eBird visit www.ebird.org.
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