Date: 12/31/17 5:34 am
From: Ragupathy Kannan <0000013b0ad14faf-dmarc-request...>
Subject: Re: The Power of eBird
Following up on that fantastic video Dan posted, here are some tips for eBird users. 
Tips by Angus Wilson, New York
Below are seven tips that will help you prepare useful checklists and minimize the chances that you will hear from the reviewers:

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.
 
Tip #2. Try to select the nearest HOT SPOT rather create a personal location. There are plenty to choose from. Checklists mapped to hot spots are used to develop occurrence data such as bar charts. If you create personal locations, please avoid general locations (e.g. a village, town or general area) unless there are reasons to not give the specific locality (e.g., sensitive species or no public access). Ideally sightings should be within a mile or two of the hotspot or personal location you've chosen and no more. For larger sites, it's helpful to include a line or two on the location of any noteworthy birds.
 
Tip #3. 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.
 
Tip #4. 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:
 
http://help.ebird.org/customer/en/portal/articles/974012-how-to-make-your-checklists-more-valuable
 
Tip #5. 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, encourages people to submit in a timely fashion, and also helps regional compilers understand who first discovered noteworthy birds.
 
Tip #6. Not every individual bird will be identified in the field; for these cases don't be afraid to enter them as a NONSPECIFIC TAXON. Examples include ‘sparrow sp.’, ‘cuckoo sp.’ etc. Be as specific as possible: if you saw some small sandpipers, consider using "peep sp." instead of the more general "shorebird sp.". To avoid clutter, many of these taxa are hidden when you enter sightings and may only shown by searching for them in the "Add species" box. Entries to the main list may automatically flagged as ‘rare’ because they haven’t been included in the filters, so don't be offended when your entry for " 1 nuthatch sp." asks for comments. A few words of description will do.
 
Tip #7. Don’t be OFFENDED if a local reviewer asks you a question. Following Tips 1-6 will minimize this considerably. Reviewers volunteer their time to maintain local data quality and are usually very knowledgeable about the birds in their coverage region. One can learn a great deal from their questions. It is easy to modify your checklists using the ‘Manage My Checklists’ option within your eBird controls. Again be courteous and send a brief reply to confirm that you received the message and that you will (presumably) modify your checklist accordingly. There's nothing more frustrating than email silence
On Sunday 31 December 2017, 7:13:27 AM GMT-6, Daniel Scheiman <birddan...> wrote:

Why should you resolve to use eBird in 2018? This short video describes the big picture. 
https://youtu.be/-t-0xAjxakw
Dan ScheimanLittle Rock, AR
 
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