I remember when E-Bird first came out and I remember thinking it was a great idea. Here was an idea that would nearly be the death of all telephone dial-a-birds or Rare Bird Alerts. When it first started going live, I played around with it since I was looking for something to store my records. However I was quickly disappointed with the data that was being collected (Gray Jays in the Bronx? I think not). It was clear the system worked, but that the editing and review process had to be refined to make the system of any use.
Fast forward a couple of years and every time I saw him, Rich Guthrie would tell me to submit my reports to E-Bird. Since I already had another program in which to keep my records, I didn’t see the need to spend half my evenings doing data entry and I ignored it for the most part.
Still on all the various list-servs I subsribe to, I saw more and more people using E-Bird to record and report their sightings. Then only a few weeks ago, and the dreaded hard drive failure happened to me. While I was able to rescue my birding files, I haven’t been able to get the program up and running again! As many of you know I took a several month break from birding anyway, so it wasn’t a big deal, but now that I’m back in the saddle so to speak, I need to be able to record my trips again. And E-Bird was ready for me.
So I go through the whole registering process (it’s FREE), look through the maps and locations, find the one I was at and entered in my data. What has really improved is the features, which allow me to keep National, State and County Life Lists with little or no effort. I haven’t checked all the features out yet, but so far it is MUCH improved from what I remember.
So whether your bird a lot or a little, be sure to check out E-Bird and register and start submitting your checklists!