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eBird was launched in 2002 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society and has become one of the fastest growing biodiversity data resources in existence. It is perhaps the greatest advancement in the avocation of birding in generations. Since its creation eBird has grown to include new features and functionality to appeal to a wide variety of users. It is used by recreational and professional bird watchers alike, and this mix of amateur and expert is eBird’s greatest strength, and arguably its greatest weakness, as inaccuracies and inconsistencies can enter the database. It is the purpose of checklist filters to catch possible errors and to prompt for additional information when unusual species or high counts are entered. Filtered observations are then reviewed by volunteers familiar with local bird distribution. Birders can make valuable contributions by providing accurate detail for all species caught by these filters.
In an effort to solicit accurate information special attention should be given to the following birds reported to the local listserve or submitted to eBird from Santa Barbara County. This includes offshore waters and the Channel Islands. Taking field notes is good practice in general, but asterisked (*) species below are those that are truly rare region wide, and checklists should include comments, written descriptions and photos or video if possible. Birders should consult the California Bird Records Committee Review List >> for CA review species (*), and read Paul Lehman’s, The Birds of Santa Barbara County, California >> for current status and distribution information.
Consider some of the following guidelines when submitting eBird checklists: Use Hotspots >> whenever possible; Accurately plot locations on maps (personal spots); Avoid long traveling counts and county level checklists; Record species in appropriate habitat; Report subspecies only when an attempt has been made to differentiate type, not merely because it is “expected” in the area; Add comments for “continuing” species; Explain how you estimated high counts, i.e. “counted twice” or, “counted by tens” etc. Finally, read the guidelines on reporting rarities in eBird here >> . You can learn about eBird’s Review and Data Quality Process here >>
Any (wild) goose except Canada
Common (Eurasian) Teal*
albatross (any, BF in SB channel)
petrel* (any Pterodroma sp.)
Little Blue Heron
South Polar Skua
Any owl other than Barn, Great Horned and Western Screech-
Great Crested Flycatcher*
All vireos except Hutton's, Warbling and Cassin's
Any "eastern" wood-
Any "southwestern" wood-
American Tree Sparrow*
"Red" Fox Sparrow*
Hepatic*, Summer, and Scarlet* tanagers
Species Detail: Provide details for the following species within the parameters listed. Also see the comments at the bottom of the page for species requiring documentation from the Channel Islands.
Brant: All non-
Wood Duck: All records away from areas with resident populations.
Dabbling Ducks (Anas): Breeding records of all species except Gadwall and Mallard.
All records of over-
Diving Ducks: Records for any species (except Ruddy Duck) between 1 May and 30 September;
breeding records for any species; records of Redhead away from the south county;
Greater Scaup; Common Goldeneye (away from Cachuma Lake), Hooded Merganser (away
from Santa Ynez River, Cachuma Lake and other regular wintering areas), Common Merganser
on coastal slope, including the ocean; Red-
Quail: All records of Mountain Quail away from the San Rafael and Santa Ynez Mountains and from below approximately 1500 feet.
Loons: Summer records (15 June -
Grebes: All breeding records and counts of nests except Pied-
Northern Fulmar: High counts, sightings from shore, and all records between 1 June and 31 Aug.
Shearwaters: High counts of all species and all counts from shore. All winter records
Pelicans: All records of American White Pelican away from Cachuma Lake and away from Santa Maria River estuary in late summer/fall. Brown Pelican: high counts at roosting locations, age ratios, sightings away from the ocean and coastal lagoons/river channels, any nesting evidence.
Cormorants: Any nesting records; all summer counts. Brandt's/Pelagic cormorants away from the immediate coast.
Bitterns: All records of Least Bittern; any nesting records
Herons and Egrets: All breeding records (any species), including nest counts. Counts
from roosts of over 40 of an individual species. High counts of White-
Vultures: All suspected breeding records of Turkey Vulture; roosts/ any counts of more than 50 birds.
Osprey: Any nesting evidence.
Eagles: All records of Bald Eagle away from Cachuma Lake or Channel Islands in winter, any nesting evidence.
Northern Harrier: All records from 1 May -
Accipiter: Records of Sharp-
Buteo: All records of Ferruginous Hawk away from Santa Maria, Lompoc, Santa Ynez
Valleys, and arrival/departure dates. Records of Red-
Falcons: All Prairie Falcon records away from the Cuyama Valley or Santa Ynez Valley.
All records of Merlin from 20 Apr. -
Rails: All breeding records, and records from 1 May -
Plovers: Arrival and departure dates for adults and juvenile Black-
Black Oystercatcher: All breeding records.
Stilts/Avocets: High counts of Black-
Sandpipers: Arrival and departure dates for adults and juveniles (indicate plumage
and condition, age if possible). Local high counts of birds from areas where shorebird
migration is familiar to the observer. Spotted Sandpiper records between 15 May -
Jaegers/Skuas: All inland and from-
Terns: Breeding records of all species (except Least Tern at known breeding locations).
Inland records of all species except Forster's and Caspian. High counts and summer
records of Forster's and Royal Tern (15 Apr. -
Alcids: Any alcid seen from shore except for Common Murre in winter and spring. Pigeon
Guillemot records away from the Channel Islands or Vandenberg AFB, and all records
1 Oct. -
Doves: All records of Spotted Dove. Band-
Cuckoos: Any record of Greater Roadrunner in suburban areas. All breeding records.
Owls: Any record of Flammulated Owl away from Big Pine Mtn.; Breeding records of Burrowing Owl; Breeding records of Spotted Owl and sightings away from the interior mountains and canyons; Any indication of migratory movement (any species).
Nightjars: Records of migrants; records of Lesser Nighthawks away from the Cuyama
Valley, and all records between 20 Sept. -
Swifts: All records of Black Swift between 20 May -
Hummingbirds: All records of Calliope Hummingbird in spring. Black-
Kingfisher: All breeding records and all records from 1 May -
Woodpeckers: All records of Acorn Woodpecker from the Santa Maria Valley. All records
of Williamson's Sapsucker. Records of Red-
Flycatchers: Arrival and departure dates for regular species; records of Olive-
Shrikes: All breeding evidence of Loggerhead Shrike. Early “fall” arrival dates (June
Vireos: All breeding records of Warbling and Cassin's Vireo, and winter records (October
Corvids: All records of Clark's Nutcracker. All records of Steller's Jay in lowlands
and away from known breeding habitat. All American Crows in the Cuyama Valley or
on the Channel Islands. Counts of >200 Common Ravens away from Cuyama Valley or multiples
along the coast. Records of Yellow-
Swallows: Arrival dates for the usual species including Purple Martin; records of
any species except Tree Swallows from 1 Oct. to 15 Feb.; All records of of Bank Swallow
including summer (June/July) and counts of multiple birds; winter counts of Barn
Swallow and more than 10 Tree; Cliff and No. Rough-
Chickadees: Summer records of Mountain Chickadee below 3000' and winter records in
lowlands. Documenting the expansion of Chestnut-
Nuthatches: Records of Red-
Wrens: Records of Canyon and Rock Wren away from known breeding sites; Any indication
of migratory movement or breeding records of Pacific Wren; All summer records of
Marsh Wren from 1 June -
Dipper: All records.
Kinglets/Gnatcatchers: All breeding activity of Blue-
Thrushes: All records of Mountain Bluebird away from the Cuyama Valley or Santa Ynez
Valley. All records of Townsend's Solitaire below 2000' or in summer in interior
mountains. Records of fall-
Wrentit: All records from urbanized areas and away from areas of normal residence. Any evidence from Cuyama Valley
Thrashers: Records of Northern Mockingbird from the mountains. Records of California Thrasher in urbanized or high elevation areas. All records of Sage Thrasher
Pipits: Arrival and departure dates for migrants and the wintering flocks of American
Pipit. Records after first week of May. All records of the Japonicus subspecies or
Waxwings/Phainopepla: High counts (>300) of Cedar Waxwing, all late spring records (after June 15) and all summer records. Phainopepla at higher elevations, in urbanized areas or along the north coast.
Tanagers: Arrival dates of Western Tanager, records away from breeding areas (San
Rafael and Santa Ynez Mountains) 1 June -
Sparrows: Arrival and departure dates for all species; summer records of all 'winter'
sparrows. Records of juncos other than “Oregon” and "Slate-
Grosbeaks/Buntings: Records of Rose-
Blackbirds/Meadowlark: All records of 'Bicolored' subspecies of Red-
Orioles: All records of Scott's Oriole away from the Cuyama Valley during spring and summer. Arrival and departure dates of breeding species, and late fall/winter records of any species.
Finches: All records of Lawrence's Goldfinch in winter, along the immediate coast,
plus large concentrations (>20). All records of Cassin's Finches. Records of Pine
Siskin 1 May -
Channel Islands: See the Channel Islands Bird Checklist >> (pdf) for the birds recorded
on the Channel Islands. This checklist includes accidental species which should be
accompanied with documentation on eBird checklists. It is not uncommon for birders
unfamiliar with the islands to make assumptions about the common birds of the mainland
and apply several of these to eBird checklists because the habitat may look similar.
However, birders may be surprised to learn that there are no confirmed sightings
of several “common” mainland bird species on the islands despite extensive surveys.
Many eBird checklists have included erroneous information with multiple counts, no
written descriptions or photographs to support these sightings. Examples include,
Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Chestnut-