Saturday, November 17, 2012

eBird best practices
Enter your old field lists

I have kept notes and bird lists of my outings ever since I started birding. At times my notes were prolific and daily. At other times my notes were sparse to non-existent for months or years. Thus, besides entering my recent sightings into eBird the past 2 years since joining, I have gone back to enter older sightings.

Because on my early birding lists I didn't usually record starting time and effort, I had to enter many of these checklists as "incidental." I started birding in November 1972. My first bird lists with enough data to enter into eBird began in 1975. I have now entered all my bird lists from then to mid-1987. This includes the period from August 1979 to December 1984 when I lived in Ventura, California. I am number 12 on the Ventura County all-time birding list, with over 200 complete checklists and 286 species.

I had to be careful, though, that my lists were all from one small area. One can add county lists or even state lists, but these are invalidated from eBird checklists and public output. They would still show up on my personal lists, though. I have decided that if they don't fit neatly in eBird "rules" that I won't enter them. So, some of my traveling lists and big days were not entered unless just individual noteworthy birds on incidental lists not recording all species. So, exact date and exact location.

Of course, I pretty much have forgotten the details of many of these sightings. Thus I am unable to add additional details when eBird flags the sightings as unusual. This has given me an opportunity to get to know the various eBird Reviewers around the country--a topic for a future post!