www.eBird.org has been my “go to” birding software ever since Corey slapped me for getting hysterical over a Blue-winged Warbler at Mount Auburn Cemetery in Boston. Having found what I took to be a noteworthy bird, I wanted to publicise it, but was not sure how that might best be accomplished. I contacted Corey, who checked it out on the barchart for the eBird Hotspot and was able to tell me that a Blue-winged Warbler was not as special as I had imagined. He let me down in a caring and comforting way, but I am sure that at some point he emitted a long sigh and a soft, “Huh! Limeys!”
Having been introduced to the wonders of eBird, I have found the facility to be invaluable on my travels and promote the site to anyone I meet. Lately however, I noticed a peculiar thing on my checklists. The name of the bird, which had previously appeared on the checklist in a familiar black script, had changed to blue. I wondered if my computer was doing odd things and thought no more about it. But today, a slip of the keyboard sent me all of a quiver when the picture of an Oriental Magpie appeared on the screen.
Credit and copyright – Ting-Wei Hung
I had been checking over a checklist from Hong Kong and realised that a split from Eurasian Magpie must have been made since my last visit, but had somehow passed me by. I absent-mindedly clicked on the bird’s name and tian na!, up came a confirming picture. The blue script indicated a link to the Macaulay Library, the vast repository of eBirders’ photos.
I clicked the next bird on the list and another photograph was displayed. This time of a Collared Crow. Fascinated, I scrolled down and found more photographs, a range map and an audio representation of the bird’s call.
Try it out on your own checklists, or if you are not already registered, try it out on a 10,000 Birds.com Collaborative List example. Simply click this link, choose a checklist and click on any blue entry. If you click on the top entry and then scroll through the glorious photographs, it brings an otherwise dry checklist to life.
I hadn’t had much occasion to click the “Science” heading for a while. It’s right next to my “eBird” and another inadvertent click brought forth the wonder that is the new abundance animation maps. Re-booted for December, like a murmuration of starlings, the range maps roll and roil to the tune of the seasons. “How marvelous would it be,” I thought, “if you could zoom in on these maps.” And then I found BirdVis.
You will have already realised that I am an eBird fan, but these superb upgrades makes it the fatball at the feeding station of birding software.