Friday, December 12, 2014

eBird and the CBC

If you don’t eBird, ignore this. No, wait. If you don’t eBird, eBird. Get an account, spend a weekend figuring it out, and make it a part of your life. It’s the future. Do you eBird? Got eBird?

But it is too late for the Tucson Valley CBC, coming up in 2 days, to learn the intricacies of eBird. If you keep very precise location and effort data all day (hello, notebook and pencil), you can enter it later.

First of all, the CBC and eBird protocols for keeping track of distances are different. The CBC protocol requests that you list your ENTIRE distance – keeping foot, car, bicycle, boat, and golf cart data separate. eBird protocol on the other hand asks that you not count distances that are backtracked. If you’re looping back a hundred yards farther east on the opposite side of a huge wash, that’s different; if you’re retracing your steps on a trail, don’t count the return distance.

Keep track of exactly where you bird, when you arrive, how long you birded there, how far you walked or drove, and what species you saw there in which numbers. Next stop, write down the time, location, and at the end the time, distance. In between is the species list and numbers.

If you use BirdLog ( from your smartphone, it can plot the location and mark the start time, so all you need to do is the distance and species numbers. Later you can use BirdLog to upload the lists into your eBird account.

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