#socialmedia3: eBird

Jul 30th, 2011 | By | Category: Make a Difference!, Youth Blog

@Anyonewhoreadsthis, get ready for the next few posts which will constitute the #epic conclusion to the social media series. #Getreadytoroll

What I would like to bring before you today is an example of how you mix biology and social media-type systems that work for good.

The first thing I want to bring up is EBird, which you can access here. I’ve been using it this summer for my class in Field Methods in Ornithology (the study of birds), but will continue using it and am actually willing to say it totally deserves mention here. EBird is run by the the Audubon Society and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the people who brought us Project Feederwatch and the other mass-organized birdwatching events that have forever changed data collection in the study of birds. eBird allows youto submit your birding trip records in the form of “checklists,” and will automatically make you a “life list” of the species you’ve seen (including regionally or globally), and – this is the cool part – allows you to see your rank against the other eBirders in your country, state or county in both species life list and the number of checklists you submit. For my county, my all time rank is #17, but for this year’s species alone I’m at #8 and still rising. (I like competitive things….) eBird is fantastic because the data is then useful to scientists – and when I went to work on my research project for Ornithology, I actually found some of my own observations in the dataset I was using! It’s a great way to contribute to science, a great way to store your records, and a useful tool for both the amateur and professional birdwatcher.

EBird is just the tip of the iceberg – next time, I’ll talk about an atlas of invasive plants, and an atlas of proteas, whatever those are. Stay tuned!

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