Date: 12/30/17 1:48 pm From: W. Douglas Robinson <w.douglas.robinson...> Subject: [obol] eBirding tips
A New York eBird reviewing group formulated a short list of tips for eBirders. Since it’s that time of year when some birders who have not used eBird much think of giving it a go in the New Year, I thought I’d share this.
Below are seven tips that will help you prepare useful checklists and minimize the chances that you will hear from your local eBird reviewer.
Tip #1. Provide SOME WORDS OF DESCRIPTION (or attach photos) for ANY noteworthy birds. Usually these will be flagged as 'Rare' based on the local filter settings. Filters work at county level so may or may not flag very localized or habitat specific birds. A description of the bird is important for validation. Notes on what the bird(s) was doing or where it was, are of secondary importance. Simply saying ‘continuing’ or ‘seen by many’ isn’t very helpful at all. Take a minute to write some notes about the fieldmarks.
Tip #2. Avoid selecting SUBSPECIES on the basis of expectation or because they are high on a list of suggestions. Identifying subspecies adds a whole new level of enjoyment to birding so if you use this option, try to explain the basis of your choice. Identifications are based on fieldmarks, not probability of occurrence.
Tip #3. Pay attention to your PROTOCOL and EFFORT data. Your checklists become more valuable when this information is accurate. While estimates are okay, give careful thought to whether you really hiked exactly 1 mile and birded for exactly 1 hour. The more precise the effort information, the better. And don't forget, for traveling checklists you should NOT be including your return mileage unless you took a different route back to your start point. Some further guidance on this topic can be viewed at:
Tip #4. Be COURTEOUS. If you are chasing a bird that has been reported by someone else, why not mention them by name? This simple act shows that you respect your fellow birders, are thankful to them for sharing, encourages people to submit in a timely fashion, and also helps regional compilers understand who first discovered noteworthy birds.