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September 2009
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Society for Ecological Restoration Ecological Society of America Delmarva Ornithological Society

Quick eBird Entry Tips

As fall migration kicks into full swing, I find myself accumulating bird checklists from various forays into the woods, fields, and marshes.  The sheer magnitude of the fall flights are always fascinating, so I try to get out as much as possible during this time of year.

These days, I seldom go birding without taking detailed field notes that include counting individuals and species at each location.  I religiously submit these records to Cornell’s eBird program.  While I admit that I was one of the doubters when eBird was in its infancy many years ago during my undergraduate years at Cornell, I’ve long since become a big fan of what eBirding adds to my birding experience.  Nate over at The Drinking Bird did a nice job of detailing how eBird makes him a better birder, and I agree with everything he says about the ways that eBird can make local birding far more interesting.  For me, the satisfaction of knowing that my bird observations are being contributed to a massive pool of data that is channeled directly into the Avian Knowledge Network is reward enough.  All of the listing, data viewing, and data manipulation toys that eBird provides are just icing on the cake.

The only problem is that too often, rather than finding their way into my eBird account, my checklists languish for months, or sometimes even years, in the depths of a stack of yellow Rite-in-the-Rain field books.  I simply lack the time to sit down and enter the data regularly.

Good news for me and for all of you other busy birders out there!  I recently checked the eBird news site and noticed a feature article that details some ways to speed up eBird data entry.  These time-saving tips include keyboard shortcuts for using the Jump to Species box so that you needn’t scroll up and down the checklist searching for the proper place  in which to enter numbers for a species.  (This is an especially useful hint for those of us who may have never taken the time to read the directions in the first place and have been hunting-and-pecking our way through the checklists with mouse and keyboard).  The Jump to Species box is not quite as cool as a Jump to Conclusions mat, but much more useful.

eBird Jump to Species Box Data Entry Screenshot

If you’ve never used eBird, I encourage you to give it a try!  If you’re a regular user, check out the aforementioned data entry tips on the news page to increase your efficiency and get more of your sightings into the system!  And be sure to stop by the eBird blog!


5 comments to Quick eBird Entry Tips

  • Nice post, and great to know you are and eBird convert . . . and proselytizer! The time-saving tips are wonderful, and I’m still looking for ways to streamline my data entry.

  • Matthew,

    Great post! I too have been devoting a lot of time in the field and racking up unentered checklists.

    I built a tool that helps me enter my old notebook data very easily. Marshall Iliff has been using it to catch up on his old notebooks and says he likes it. Takes 10 minutes to learn, but can save a lot of time. Seemed useful enough that I posted it and made it available to others.

    Hope you find it helpful and I would love to hear your feedback.


    • Hey Dave –

      Wow! Very cool. Thank you for taking the time to develop this and for sharing it! I’ve been hoping for banding code support in particular, because that’s what I use in my notebooks, and it is SO much quicker. I’ll try it out and let you know what I think. Sorry about the duplicate post… not sure why you would’ve gotten that message. I went ahead and removed the duplicate before responding. Thanks for reading!

  • “Then get back outside and go birdnig and submit more eBird checklists!”Ya, no kidding! LOLI’m going to try this on the next rainy day, I promise.DianneBirdgCoo

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