California and eBird--Over the top in November!
- California Birders
I'd first like to thank you for giving eBird (www.ebird.org) a try this past
fall, and for finally helping knock New York out of the #1 position for
eBird checklist submissions! How's that for "Northeast-centric!" This past
November, California topped New York by 448 checklists, producing a monthly
total of 2085 new checklists�among the highest single monthly totals for any
state in eBird in the history of the application. With the bulk upload tool
(still just beta-testing) AviSys users contributed another 1719 checklists,
for a grand total of 3804 California checklists! It's great to see that
California birders are leading the charge in the West and enjoying eBird,
and CA usage is growing rapidly. eBird is only as good as the people who
use it, and with your data the application has become stronger and more
useful to those wishing to query the database.
eBird has made several strong developments over the past few months. We've
launched the ability to record age and sex variables for every species on
your checklist. This was a difficult process to automate, but we feel that
we've taken a conservative approach to it, and hope that you'll find it
useful. I was shocked when I first started using it to realize that I had
no idea how to age and sex many species, some because it is impossible in
the field, others because I simply lacked the knowledge required to do so. In
any case, it's an important part of bird record-keeping, and we hope you
Along with this development comes the ability to enter comments for each
species separately. No longer will Curtis Marantz run out of room while
entering his checklist comments! This was a big request among eBird users,
and we've given you ample room here to describe behaviors and other
interesting things from your field notes at the species level.
The biggest and most welcome change has been the development of Google Maps
in our "Submit Data" functionality. Now it's easier than ever to find your
location using Google Maps, quickly plot where you went birding, and then
send us your data. The old mapping tool was on its last legs, and we're
happy to have Google helping to serve our mapping needs. Soon we'll be able
to display all the hotspots and you'll actually be able to enter data for an
existing location simply by selecting it off the map!
We've also expanded our coverage to include data entry for all islands in
the Caribbean, so if you're traveling this holiday season, don't forget to
keep notes on the birds you see, and feel free to enter them into eBird.
Projects are still in the works with Cuba, Colombia, Panama and Costa Rica,
and soon we'll have the AOU south taxonomy in place so you'll be able to
enter data from anywhere in the Western Hemisphere.
We're still in the process of refining filters for California, and bringing
new county editors online to help us vet records. I'm happy to say that
most counties are now covered, with the exception of several in the
northeastern part of the state. In fact users in LA County so far this year
are on top of the pile with 1465 checklists, with Marin, San Diego, Santa
Clara, and San Luis Obispo rounding out the Top 5 (see full list below).
Thanks to all our county reviewers working hard to manage this massive data
Again, I'd really like to thank everyone using eBird in California for all
your effort and support. As you know, this is just a drop in the bucket in
terms of what could be happening in California. If every birder in this
state submitted just one checklist per month, we'd probably have 100,000
checklists every month from California alone. I can't tell you how valuable
a data set becomes when you're talking about a sample size that large. With
your help, we hope to get there some day, hopefully in 2007!
Thanks and Happy Holidays
Brian Sullivan (bls42@...)
eBird Project Leader (West)
Pacific Grove, CA
Checklist Totals by California County 2006
San Luis Obispo
Brian L. Sullivan
eBird Project Leader
Birds of North America Online
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Rd.
Ithaca, NY 14850
North American Birds
American Birding Association
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