Date: 3/5/18 9:42 am
From: W. Douglas Robinson <w.douglas.robinson...>
Subject: [obol] Re: Oregon county eBird checklist ranking
Guilty as charged. It is pretty obvious that I value contributing checklists more than I value chasing species around the state. I still have not made myself drive the 3 hours to chase the Eider in Seaside, for example.

I just revised a book I wrote when I was kid that is an annotated checklist of the birds of southern Illinois. The update is freely available online as a web page and it includes a chapter on eBird. Some of you might be interested in it as it gives some tips about the most useful kinds of eBirding data contributions. <>

The Oregon birding community tends to do a much better job using than eBird than the birding community where I grew up. The chapter is an effort to encourage them to do better.

For context, although the number of checklists I contribute is relatively high, I count birds about an hour a day, on average. So not that much really. I do have a day job. But getting out and seeing birds every day helps me remember why I work hard at my day job, so I make sure I spend time looking at birds. And since I am already looking and identifying, it is a simple matter to just count them, too.

I encourage you all to take a few minutes each day to count birds wherever you are and enter the data into eBird. Get the smart phone app if you need to. Or find a patch that you value and take a few minutes to count there, then enter the data at home later.

Resist the temptation to conclude only boring birds are present and therefore your count is useless. That is not the case! So many people think they just have normal birds around them all the time. What you are seeing around you today is definitely not normal in the sense that birds respond to landscape and habitat change and the landscapes and habitats we live in today are not what were here even a few decades ago. Our landscapes and habitats are going to change a lot in the future, too, owing to changing agricultural practices, suburbanization and the like. So take a few minutes and count some birds. When you do, we can snatch this moment in time and preserve it to be observed again and again in the future.


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