Date: 10/25/17 8:32 pm
From: <sparvophile...> [NEBirds] <NEBirds...>
Subject: [NEBirds] Re: eBird Hotspots
Regarding Paul's point, the word "hotspots" is a bit of a misnomer. It's meant to be a way for different birders to enter their lists at the same location; so it has less to do with what a great birding spot the place is, than whether it's a publicly-accessible site that's likely to be visited by multiple birders. A freeway rest stop in uninteresting habitat would be a legitimate hotspot, just because different traveling birders might stop there and log starlings and House Sparrows, while a private yard that's not open to birders in general wouldn't be a good hotspot, even if the owner had run up a terrific yard list.

Some hotspots aren't frequently visited, so their lists might be short for quite a long time. In September, for instance, I stopped at a WMA in Banner County that I hadn't previously known about. I got there on a warm windy afternoon, and only picked up two species. Nevertheless, I entered it as a hotspot, because it's a piece of public land that other birders might want to visit.

EBird has a hotspot map in which the sites are color-coded according to number of species. From the main eBird page, click the "Explore Data" tab. The third item on the list is "Explore Hotspots". Click on that and it'll bring up a map; zoom in on the area you're interested in, and the colored rectangles will eventually break up into colored markers for the different hotspots. The color codes allow trip-planners to ignore the locations with short species lists, and focus on the ones with lots of reported birds. Of course, in infrequently traveled parts of the state, you might thus find yourself bypassing potentially productive areas just because they've only been visited in poor birding conditions...

William Flack

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