Date: 7/2/19 9:56 am From: David Ely <mountainplover...> Subject: [cobirds] Ebird Tips and Guidance
I wanted to take a few moments and offer some suggestions on how to better utilize the ebird tool and have your valuable observations accepted into the database.
As I'm sure most everyone is aware, Colorado has a team of volunteers that review ebird data and help validate sightings. This is an important process as researchers rely on the quality of data for their studies and examinations. Of course, ebird is there for you to use just as a personal list manager, but we certainly hope everyone tries to keep their data as accurate and meaningful as possible. Sometimes you may get an email from a reviewer asking for more clarification, additional details or descriptions, or even some suggestions regarding location, for example. Due to the high number of records in the state that need reviewed, it is not always possible for reviewers to email you when issues with your checklists are detected. Checklist issues with distance are common. A lack of comments (or the type of comments) that support your observations is also a frequent issue. Below is some brief guidance on these topics.
*Distance:* Traveling counts should be kept generally under 3-5 miles though up to 5-6 miles is sometimes OK (uniform habitat while driving in eastern Colorado for example). An example of a checklist that is considered too long would be a single checklist submission for an entire 25 mile BBS route. In this case, a checklist for each point is strongly preferred, though you could group a few of them (first 3-5 miles, then another list for the next subset of miles).
*Rare Birds:* Please make every effort to accurately describe what you observed and of course photographs and recordings are of tremendous help. While it is often very helpful to state what the bird was doing, a description of the bird's activities alone aren't enough. Comments such as, "flying over" or "seen in our yard" are fine to include but a description of a rare or "flagged" species is needed.
*High Counts:* When you are flagged for a high count of a species, please describe how you determined the count. Comments such as "tally" or "1 X 1" are appropriate to state that you counted each individual present. You can also make a short comment such as "one singing above bridge and second heard further downstream." When estimating a flock, please include some comments such as "by 10's" or "estimated by 100's."
Just by striving to write better descriptions and keeping traveling count distances appropriate, you'll fix the majority of issues the review teams see.
Should you ever have any questions, please feel free to contact me directly. There is also tons of fantastic information in the help section of ebird as well. I'm hear to help and partner with you so that you get what you want out of the ebird tool and to help you accurately share your valuable observations and contributions.
Going forward, I hope to have a somewhat regular cadence with "Tips and Tricks" emails to this list serve. I'm very open to suggestion and would love to know what you'd like help with and what you'd be interested in hearing more about.
Good ebirding and please enjoy a fantastic and safe 4th of July holiday!
David C. Ely Broomfield, CO Lead Ebird Reviewer for Colorado (970)-391-0432