MAKE:TNT Tools 'n' Tips

eBird Online Database

Backyard scientists have kept lists of the birds they’ve seen for centuries. These lists of have been useful to scientists who are able to correlate the observed changes in range or migration times of species with global climate change. Patterns from shorter-term effects, like West Nile Virus, can also emerge. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Audubon Society joined forces to create an easy-to-use online database, eBird, that lets you track your bird observations and pool them with others so the data can be used by anyone.

It’s great because you can use it to build custom reports of your observations over time and you can get information about observations made by all eBird participants in aggregate. The reports let you drill down to quite a bit of detail about observations made at specific locations or of specific species within a region.

With eBird, your personal birding list becomes more interesting and fun to browse right away. But by sharing your data, you also become a citizen scientist. The citizen scientists of the 1800's didn't realize that their observations would be important clues about global warming...and the data you collect now may be important in ways we can't foresee now.