Out the Back Window | eBird Your Birdlist

It has been a while since posting one in the series of Out the Back Window. We are blessed with a wooded acreage directly behind our house. Our bird feeders are not far away and provide a lot of fun as we watch the different species of birds come and go. We enjoy seeing the year long residents as well as the ones in transit in the spring and fall. There is a thistle feeder at the left, sunflower feeder at upper right. It spins if a squirrel jumps on it as in this brief video I was lucky to get. There is a suet feeder under the decking to the right of the wren house, out of view.

It was challenging to keep track of the different birds. We started to make a list. Our life-list got to be long and hard to manage. There is a convenient online tool to help with that tally. This post is about that tool and how to use it.

I use the online tool called eBird to help keep track of our bird counts. And, it is a way to contribute our bird observations to a bigger database. It is from Audubon and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. It is a way to contribute to a citizen science project. I am a big fan of those. Here is a post about some I like.

Follow this link to the home page and sign in window. Registration is free and simple to complete. Just follow their online directions.

For this post, I have submitted 9 different birds into the system. You can submit one observation, or many in a complete list. You can enter your home site as the location, and other sites as well if your observations were away from home. You can select the date of observations. During the week I keep a record on a piece of paper on the window sill to the backyard. I jot down the birds I see and how many, etc. Then, I enter them into eBird in a group instead of one at a time.

I clicked on My eBird to see my list and other statistics about the 9 birds I just entered. As you can see, it neatly tallies my counts in three categories. It keeps track for you as you enter more observations in the future. As your list gets longer over time, the stats report is more informative and comprehensive. The lists for individual users are compiled into a larger database of observations for study by researchers and bird enthusiasts.

Another feature I like is the reports of observations by others for your nearby area, county, state, etc. It will give some horizontal charts for each species, seen in green here.  The green band varies in vertical size by the number of reports of the bird for each month. Reports can be customized several ways. You can also see a map view.

If you enjoy birds and birdwatching, start keeping track of the species you see. Sign up for eBird. Keep track and help by adding them to the database. It is a good way for to help track the populations and trends to see if our little feathered friends are doing well or showing signs of trouble. Thanks for reading.


18 thoughts on “Out the Back Window | eBird Your Birdlist

  1. Interesting how the Internet has changed bird counting. Simply fascinating. Having feeders is wonderful … especially seeing the infrequent visitors.

  2. This is a great tool, and I’m also a huge fan of citizen science projects. I enjoy watching the birds who visit the back yard, but having a cat we don’t put out feeders except for hummingbirds. (This is not my decision, but my room mates. I just follow the rules!)

    • There are several cats around us that frequent our feeders. They don’t seem very adept at catching birds. It’s almost amusing to watch. Even more fun to watch them stalk a squirrel. They get all twitchy and excited giving themselves away.

      • As I mentioned Jim, the cat, as well as the house itself, belongs to my room mate. Her rules. She gets very sentimental about these things. I, on the other hand, admire cats as predators and am not in the least bit sentimental about the course of nature. I find equal enjoyment in watch her (the cat, not my room mate!) stalking and taking down birds, as I do in watching the birds themselves. The cat, who’s name is ‘Cat’, is quite skilled despite her being, in my opinion, an over fed city cat. She’s also very cute and cuddly.

        My mother’s cats, however, being very rural country cats, and fed enough to encourage hunting yet limit their territorial range to my mother’s 70 acres, regularly take down squirrels and rabbits – in addition to the rats and mice they are intended to hunt. These cats have to be kept at the top of their game for survival as they also have to deal being prey to larger predators such as coyotes.

        Nature is awesome!

  3. I’m going to be sharing this link with a couple of friends who are enthusiastic birders, but who may not have begun this kind of record keeping.

    I’m afraid that, even as a cat owner, I have to disagree about the pleasure of seeing cats take down birds. Feral cats are overrunning urban and suburban areas, and are a terrible threat to songbirds. There’s nothing natural about hordes of cats running loose, unsterilized and breeding like crazy. If predation were related only to hunger, that would be one thing. But it’s clear that feeding stray cats doesn’t keep them from hunting. It only makes them bigger, stronger, healthier hunters.

    Anyway – enough of that. And there are ways to help the cat population stabilize, short of a .22. The marinas in the area now live capture the cats. A group of vets sterilizes them for free and notches their ears, and then they’re turned loose. Slowly, the population is declining.

    • I whole heartedly agree with Shoreacres. Cats are the perfect indoor pet. They should remain indoors if you love your cat. Think of all the dangers out there for a lone kitty; coyotes, poisen, cruel people.
      Also your pet quite often is someone elses pest when it uses their flowerbeds for a cat box or kills song birds at their feeders 😦 Please be a responsible pet owner.
      Nuff said.

      Now about this site. How cool is this to be part of Cornell’s research and have your bird list kept in a nice neat order. I am signing up. Thanks for putting out this info and thanks to the person who left me this link.

  4. As my eyes have often feasted on thistles, especially when they devolve into unkempt masses of seed-bearing fluff, you might call me a thistle feeder too. It’s interesting that the bird should have been named for what it eats.

  5. Thanks to the link to the bird tracking tools. The Cornell Ornithology Lab does some nice work. I visited it years ago, and was very impressed.

    • You are very welcome. I agree about their work. They are careful to keep the quality high. I reported a bird in my list that was not common for our area. Someone got back to me very soon asking for more details and if I was quite sure of the ID.

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