Date: 11/7/17 6:12 pm
From: Steve Patterson (via carolinabirds Mailing List) <carolinabirds...>
Subject: Re: South Carolina eBird, a Message From the Reviewers
Useful reminders. Thank you.

Steve Patterson
Camden, SC

-----Original Message-----
From: \Aaron Given\ (via carolinabirds Mailing List) <carolinabirds...>
To: carolinabirds <carolinabirds...>
Sent: Tue, Nov 7, 2017 7:50 pm
Subject: South Carolina eBird, a Message From the Reviewers

Dear South Carolina Birders,

Historically, eBird records for the entire state of SC were managed by a single volunteer – a very big job. In February 2017, following the resignation of the previous reviewer, eBird Central, following the example of many states, assigned responsibilities to 4 volunteer reviewers: Aaron Given and Keith McCullough for the coast and inland coastal plain (28 counties), Irvin Pitts for the Piedmont (14 counties), and Paul Serridge for the Mountains (4 counties).

As eBird reviewers we have three main objectives:

To ensure the accuracy of data submissions.
To manage the eBird filters (dates and number of individuals) to better reflect the status and distribution of birds in SC.
To develop a positive relationship with SC birders through eBird.

To accomplish these goals we would appreciate your help. Your checklists are contributing to the increased knowledge of bird distribution and abundance in South Carolina. Each checklist that is submitted passes automatically through the eBird filters. Those records which fall outside the filters (“rare” or “high counts”) are transferred automatically to the regional eBird reviewer. We are working on revising and updating the filters to improve the submission and review process. But this will take some time and should be viewed as a work in progress.

Here are some ways you can help:

If a record is flagged as “rare”, please provide a detailed description of what you observed. Your descriptions and comments are stored permanently in the database and will help solidify your record for eBird users, now and in the future. A good description includes bird field marks and behavior, how other species were eliminated, and viewing circumstances such as distance, lighting, and optics. An often-used description that we see a lot is “clearly seen/heard” or some version of that. This is not helpful in the review process as it does not say anything about the bird. Oftentimes, this will lead to an email to you requesting more information. Please set an example for fellow birders by entering good descriptions. Doing so will also improve your birding.
For “high counts”, it is still often useful to describe the bird, but counting method and circumstances are needed.
If you can add a photo/video/audio to your checklist, please do. A photo is sometimes worth a thousand words.
If we contact you for more information, please respond. As volunteers, we do not have the time to send the same request multiple times. If we do not get a response after one or two attempts, the record will be invalidated. We also do not receive notification when a checklist has been amended, so please inform us after you have added information to your checklist. If you are contacted to verify one of your sightings, look at it as an opportunity to learn the status, distribution, and ID of local birds. Be open to suggestions, ask questions, and become part of the process.

Please remember:

Validation of records can often take some time. Some species require careful consideration, review by the SC Bird Records Committee, even delayed release due to sensitivity of the site or species.
Reviewing happens more quickly when thorough descriptions are provided.
The following is a good link describing the eBird review and data quality process:
If you have questions, concerns, or comments regarding eBird in general, a submitted checklist, or a rare bird record, please contact us directly. We will be able to provide you with the most accurate information.

Aaron Given: <amgiven...>
Keith McCullough:<flatpickit...>
Irvin Pitts: <pittsjam...>
Paul Serridge: <paulserridge...>

Additional tips:

Sign up to receive eBird Rare Bird Alert emails. Species may not yet be “confirmed” in this email, but it does keep you informed of rare bird sightings (some correct, some incorrect) until reviewers can properly review the record and release it into the data output.
Please fill out a South Carolina Bird Records Committee rare bird report for significant rarities.
eBird has a series of helpful articles on their “Help” page. We would encourage you to use this valuable resource to find answers to some of your more general and technical questions.

For those already using eBird – Thank You! For those who are not, please consider joining the team of thousands of birders across the world. Your participation is valued, and the observations you submit are an important part of helping us better understand the birds in South Carolina.


The SC eBird Team (Aaron Given, Keith McCullough, Irvin Pitts, Paul Serridge)

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