eBird
Type of site
Wildlife database
Available in14 languages (but see Features, below)
Created byCornell Lab of Ornithology
URLebird.org
Launched2002 (22 years ago) (2002)
Current statusActive

eBird is an online database of bird observations providing scientists, researchers and amateur naturalists with real-time data about bird distribution and abundance. Originally restricted to sightings from the Western Hemisphere, the project expanded to include New Zealand in 2008,[1] and again expanded to cover the whole world in June 2010.[2][3] eBird has been described as an ambitious example of enlisting amateurs to gather data on biodiversity for use in science.[4]

eBird is an example of crowdsourcing,[5] and has been hailed as an example of democratizing science, treating citizens as scientists, allowing the public to access and use their own data and the collective data generated by others.[6]

History and purpose

Launched in 2002 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology at Cornell University and the National Audubon Society,[7] eBird gathers basic data on bird abundance and distribution at a variety of spatial and temporal scales. It was mainly inspired by the ÉPOQ database [fr], created by Jacques Larivée in 1975.[8] As of May 12, 2021, there were over one billion bird observations recorded through this global database.[9] In recent years, there have been over 100 million bird observations recorded each year.[10]

eBird's goal is to maximize the utility and accessibility of the vast numbers of bird observations made each year by recreational and professional birders. The observations of each participant join those of others in an international network.[11] Due to the variability in the observations the volunteers make, AI filters observations through collected historical data to improve accuracy.[11] The data are then available via internet queries in a variety of formats.

Use of database information

The eBird Database has been used by scientists to determine the connection between bird migrations and monsoon rains in India validating traditional knowledge.[12] It has also been used to notice bird distribution changes due to climate change and help to define migration routes.[13] A study conducted found that eBird lists were accurate at determining population trends and distribution if there were 10,000 checklists for a given area.[14]

Criticism of data

eBird participation in urban areas remains spatially biased with information from higher-income neighborhoods being represented much more. This suggests that eBird data should not be considered reliable for planning purposes, or to understand urban ecology of birds.[15] Such biases can be exacerbated due to events such as the COVID-19 outbreak when governmental policy restricted people's movements in many countries, which led to the data becoming greatly biased to urban locations relative to other habitats.[16]

In another study, eBird data provided a different estimate of suitable habitat for the Nilgiri pipit relative to data collected by scientists (combining field observations and literature review).[17] Authors therefore suggest that spatial distribution models based solely on eBird data should be regarded with caution.

eBird data sets have been shown to be biased not only spatially but temporally. While better roads and areas with denser human populations provided most of the data, eBird records also varied temporally with monthly fluctuations of uploads being very wide, and most of the data being provided on weekends.[18] Inferences based on analyses where eBird data is not corrected to account for such large-scale and long-term biases will yield a biased understanding that indicate eBirder behaviors more than bird behaviors.

A study pointing out that citizen-scientists possess different levels of skill and suggesting that analyses should incorporate corrections for observer bias used eBird as an example.[19]

Features

eBird documents the presence or absence of species, as well as bird abundance through checklist data. A web interface allows participants to submit their observations or view results via interactive queries of the database. Internet tools maintain personal bird records and enable users to visualize data with interactive maps, graphs, and bar charts. As of 2022, the eBird website is fully available in 14 languages (with different dialect options for three of them) and eBird supports common names for birds in 55 languages with 39 regional versions, for a total of 95 regional sets of common names.[20]

eBird is a free service. Data are stored in a secure facility and archived daily, and are accessible to anyone via the eBird web site and other applications developed by the global biodiversity information community. For example, eBird data are part of the Avian Knowledge Network (AKN), which integrates observational data on bird populations across the western hemisphere and is a data source for the digital ornithological reference Birds of North America. In turn, the AKN feeds eBird data to international biodiversity data systems, such as the Global Biodiversity Information Facility.

Electronic kiosks

In addition to accepting records submitted from users' personal computers and mobile devices, eBird has placed electronic kiosks in prime birding locations, including one in the education center at the J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island in Florida.[21]

Integration in cars

eBird is a part of Starlink on the 2019 Subaru Ascent. It allows eBird to be integrated into the touch screen of the car.[22]

Extent of information

Bird checklists

eBird collects information worldwide, but the vast majority of checklists are submitted from North America. The numbers of checklists listed in the table below include only complete checklists, where observers report all of the species that they can identify throughout the duration of the checklist.

Location Number of Bird Checklists Percentage of Total
World 90,393,583[23] 100%
Western Hemisphere
Western Hemisphere 74,953,085[24] 82.92%
Central America 1,938,420[25] 2.14%
North America 70,966,901[26] 78.51%
South America 3,598,687[27] 3.98%
West Indies 527,019[28] 0.58%
Eastern Hemisphere
Eastern Hemisphere 15,429,988[29] 17.07%
Africa 771,914[30] 0.85%
Asia 5,587,385[31] 6.18%
Australia and Territories 2,444,214[32] 2.7%
Europe 5,864,280[33] 6.49%
South Polar
South Polar 30,538[34] 0.03%
As of 29 February 2024

Regional portals

eBird involves a number of regional portals for different parts of the world, managed by local partners. These portals include the following, separated by region.[35]

United States

Canada

Caribbean

Mexico

Central America

South America

Europe

Africa

Asia

Australia and New Zealand

Notes

  1. ^ eBird New Zealand (2008). "About eBird". Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Archived from the original on September 22, 2010. Retrieved June 5, 2010.
  2. ^ Datta, Rangan (February 22, 2024). "Counting the winged guests at Rabindra Sarobar". The Telegraph. My Kolkata. Retrieved February 26, 2024.
  3. ^ eBird (2010). "Global eBird almost there! -- 3 June update". Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Archived from the original on June 3, 2010. Retrieved June 5, 2010.
  4. ^ "The Role of Information Science in Gathering Biodiversity and Neuroscience Data" Archived 2009-03-03 at the Wayback Machine, Geoffrey A. Levin and Melissa H. Cragin, ASIST Bulletin, Vol. 30, No. 1, Oct. 2003
  5. ^ Robbins, Jim (August 19, 2013). "Crowdsourcing, for the Birds". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 18, 2022.
  6. ^ Cooper, Caren; Dickinson, Janis; Phillips, Tina; Bonney, Rick (November 20, 2008). "Science Explicitly for Nonscientists". Ecology and Society. 13 (2). doi:10.5751/ES-02602-1302r01. ISSN 1708-3087.
  7. ^ Sullivan, Brian; Wood, Christopher; Iliff, Marshall; Bonney, Rick. "eBird: A citizen-based bird observation network in the biological sciences". Research Gate. Retrieved July 18, 2020. One such effort is eBird, a program launched by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology (CLO) and the National Audubon Society in 2002, which engages a vast network of human observers (citizen-scientists) to report bird observations using standardized protocols.
  8. ^ "Étude des populations d'oiseaux du Québec". www.oiseauxqc.org. Retrieved January 18, 2022.
  9. ^ eBird, Team. "eBird passes 1 billion bird observations - eBird". ebird.org. Retrieved February 28, 2022.
  10. ^ "About eBird". eBird. Retrieved July 18, 2020.
  11. ^ a b "Saving the Earth with Artificial Intelligence (AI)". Santa Monica Daily Press. June 25, 2018. Retrieved July 18, 2020.
  12. ^ "Meet the Cuckoo That Brings Monsoon Rain Across India, and How Tech Confirmed Its Magical Power". June 20, 2018.
  13. ^ "España encabeza la lista europea en registros de observaciones de aves" (in Spanish). July 19, 2018. Retrieved July 18, 2020.
  14. ^ "Citizen science birding data passes scientific muster". Science Daily. Retrieved July 18, 2020.
  15. ^ Rosner, Hillary (November 21, 2023). "Why Warblers Flock to Wealthier Neighborhoods". The New York Times.
  16. ^ Hochachka, W. M.; Alonso, H.; Gutiérrez-Expósito, C.; Miller, E. & Johnston, A. (2021). "Regional variation in the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the quantity and quality of data collected by the project eBird". Biol. Cons. 254: 108974. Bibcode:2021BCons.25408974H. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2021.108974. PMC 8486489. PMID 34629475.
  17. ^ Lele, A.; Arasumani, M.; Vishnudas, C. K.; Koparde, Pankaj; Joshi, Viral & Robin, V. V. (2023). "Ecological niche modelling reveals an elevated threat status for the Nilgiri Pipit (Anthus nilghiriensis)". J. Ornith. 165 (2): 415–427. Bibcode:2023JOrni.165..415L. doi:10.1007/s10336-023-02133-0. S2CID 266613870.
  18. ^ Zhang, G. (2020). "Spatial and Temporal Patterns in Volunteer Data Contribution Activities: A Case Study of eBird". ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information. 9 (10): 597. Bibcode:2020IJGI....9..597Z. doi:10.3390/ijgi9100597.
  19. ^ Kelling, S.; Johnston, S.; Hochachka, W. M.; Iliff, M.; Fink, D.; Gerbracht, J.; Lagoze, C.; LaSorte, F. A.; Moore, T.; Wiggnins, A.; Wong, Weng-Keen; Wood, C. & Yu, J (2015). "Can Observation Skills of Citizen Scientists Be Estimated Using Species Accumulation Curves?". PLOS ONE. 10 (10): e0139600. Bibcode:2015PLoSO..1039600K. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0139600. PMC 4599805. PMID 26451728.
  20. ^ "Bird Names in eBird". Help Center. Retrieved October 26, 2022.
  21. ^ "eBirding, citizen science topic of 'Ding' presentation". capecoralbreeze.com. Retrieved January 18, 2022.
  22. ^ "Four Stand-Out Tech Features of the 2019 Subaru Ascent Limited". Forbes.
  23. ^ "World". eBird. Retrieved February 29, 2024.
  24. ^ "Western Hemisphere". eBird. Retrieved February 29, 2024.
  25. ^ "Central America". eBird. Retrieved February 29, 2024.
  26. ^ "North America". eBird. Retrieved February 29, 2024.
  27. ^ "South America". eBird. Retrieved February 29, 2024.
  28. ^ "West Indies". eBird. Retrieved February 29, 2024.
  29. ^ "Eastern Hemisphere". eBird. Retrieved February 29, 2024.
  30. ^ "Africa". eBird. Retrieved February 29, 2024.
  31. ^ "Asia". eBird. Retrieved February 29, 2024.
  32. ^ "Australia and Territories". eBird. Retrieved February 29, 2024.
  33. ^ "Europe". eBird. Retrieved February 29, 2024.
  34. ^ "South Polar". eBird. Retrieved February 29, 2024.
  35. ^ "Regional portals & collaborators - eBird". ebird.org. Retrieved September 25, 2022.

References