Birds are all around us. Celebrated Ornithologist David Sibley summed up a birder’s fascination thusly: “Birds make any place a chance for discovery, they make a garden seem wild, they are a little bit of wilderness coming into a city park, and for a birdwatcher every walk is filled with anticipation.”
If you are in on the secret already, you likely recognize that birding is a hobby that can be enjoyed anywhere. Wherever you find yourself, down the block from your house, in the city, in a different state, or in a patch of land you’ve never thought to look before, there is potential for new and interesting sightings.
“Building eBird into your daily routine is easy,” says Chris Wood, Assistant Director of Information Science and eBird Lead at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology . “It can be as simple as doing a five minute checklist from your garden deck, or as you wait for the bus. After all, we don’t just want data from where people think they will find birds; lists from everywhere are valuable.”
Thanks to a checklist system on your smartphone, submitting what you’ve seen is easy. Alternatively, your observations can be added later from home and even past observations can be entered as long as you know the date, time and place.
One key factor for the success of eBird is the complete checklist system. By counting every bird you see, no matter how common, the understanding of bird species at a global level is heightened and expanded.
“Over time, a stationary five minute count in your yard each morning can also give you a great sense of the seasons, as you’ll start to remember and expect when the first redstart will return in the spring or the patterns of the robins,” says Drew Weber, Merlin Project Coordinator and member of the eBird team at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology."
When focusing solely on the benefits to science and conservation, however, it’s easy to overlook the fun factor to eBird and other citizen science applications.
In Central Europe, Ornitho is a popular way to post your bird and wildlife sightings. There are also apps to record your mammal, plant and insect sightings.
Then give citizen science a go. Our digital guide, an innovative piece of equipment, will make your life easier and help identify the birds you see. Together with the Merlin Bird ID app it is the perfect companion for documenting, identifying and sharing your bird discovers.
Credit mobile screens: Cornell Lab of Ornithology