Through user-submitted checklists, eBird documents the presence or absence of species, as well as bird abundance. A simple and intuitive web-interface engages tens of thousands of participants to submit their observations or view results via interactive queries into the eBird database. The observations of each participant join those of others in an international network of eBird users. eBird then shares these observations with a global community of educators, land managers, ornithologists, and conservation biologists.
A birder simply enters when, where, and how they went birding, then fills out a checklist of all the birds seen and heard during the outing. eBird provides various options for data gathering including point counts, transects, and area searches. Automated data quality filters developed by regional bird experts review all submissions before they enter the database. Local experts review unusual records that are flagged by the filters.
If you are new to birding you are discovering just how challenging bird identification can be. It takes time, comparative experience, and many hours in the field through all seasons of the year to identify birds with confidence. eBird is a great tool to help you keep track of your sightings early on. However, the primary goal of eBird is to collect and display valid data for use by other birders and the science community. Your contributions should be as accurate as possible.
Filters capture high counts and rare birds, but errors such as mapping outside of expected range or habitat, and misidentifications due to inexperience all affect data quality. Beginners should take time to build identification skills and develop a basic knowledge about the status and distribution of area birds. Use the Help link below for eBird how-to’s, and connect with local birders through the sbcobirding discussion group and Santa Barbara Audubon for identification help. Read through the County Reporting List for more detailed information.