Why use eBird
To borrow a phase from the eBird website, each bird observation you make is a piece of a puzzle. Nothing is more frustrating then to be missing a piece of a puzzle, and if you don't have enough pieces you can't even get close to finishing it. The eBird database is the box that holds all these pieces. If enough birders but their pieces in the box we can figure out a lot more puzzles in the bird world.
When we started the Texas Century Club there were over 40 counties in Texas with no records in eBird, and many had almost no records. Glasscock County used to be the poster child for a county that was really out of the way. Miles from a major highways and not really on the way to anywhere with only 9,000 residents it sat on the edge of the Edwards Plateau with no records for the longest time. No records until a Century Cluber went there because we knew so little. Now there are more than 140 species reported for Glasscock County.
eBird is very good at keeping your county totals, you can see your totals online at any time for each county in Texas. The mobile app will also show you your totals for any county.
When you're out birding it can also tell you what county your are in at the time, solving a problem many Century Clubers have.
How do I get started with eBird?
Getting started with eBird is easy and free. Just go to http://ebird.org and click on the My eBird tab to create an account.
After you have an account you will probably want to download the eBird mobile app. The mobile app allows you to enter the birds from the field and save all the time in front of the computer.
How to get your existing records into eBird
If you have your records in some computer format its likely you can import them into eBird. eBird has a couple of articles with detailed instructions:
If you use a program to record your birding data its likely possible to export it and get it into a format that can be imported in to eBird.
If your records are not electronic you may want to follow the instruction in the next section and create baseline records for each county so eBird will show your totals and create target lists for you.
I don't have complete records for my birds, can I still put them in eBird?
Yes! while eBird is set up to accept the bird, date, and the time for a record, eBird does have a protocol for entering a baseline lifelist for a county
If you don't have complete data for your records but know what birds you've seen in a county follow these steps
- Submit your life list for a country using "Select an entire city, county, state, or country."
- DO NOT pick a specific location for a checklist that covered multiple sites in a county, state, or country (see above).
- Submit as an Incidental observation that is marked "No" to the "reporting all species" question.
- Use the date of 1 January 1900.
- Do not enter a time.
- Add checklist comments that make it clear that you are submitting a baseline life list.
- Once you have submitted the checklist, click on the option to "Hide from eBird Output" (shown on the right side of the checklist page), which will remove the record from view.