Friday, November 11, 2005

eBird

On Friday afternoon, eBird Project Leader Brian Sullivan talked in the municipal auditorium about the new version of the online program by Cornell Lab of Ornithology. He and Project Leader Chris Wood have revamped the program with the tagline "Birding with a purpose."

The interactive website gathers observations by birders into a central database so that birders and scientists in Canada, the United States and Mexico can use it. It allows us to "monitor birds at a scale that's never before been attempted," Sullivan said.

The second version makes it easier to enter data and to generate information that birders can use. Sullivan said, "We want data from everyone." That includes students just beginning to learn about birds to experts who've focused on avian behavior for more than 20 years.

The new eBird generates lists--such as life, state and county--within the My eBird section of the site. It also allows users to generate maps and frequency bar charts about a specific species as well as frequency bar charts for a location.

When an eBird user enters data into the program, Sullivan said, "You're feeding data into Avian Knowledge Network." The network includes Cornell and Point Reyes Bird Observatory, among other collaborators.

"The idea is to break down boundaries," whether they're national/political or institutional, Sullivan said. "It's time to pull together data and look at the big picture."

Why don't you peek at eBird now and see what it looks like?

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