Monday, March 1, 2010

Our Neighborhood and eBird

I've written about eBird before, the free online bird listing web site. It's a great way to keep track of all the different birds you see in different places, and contribute to a scientific world-wide database of geographical bird observations at the same time. (I have entered my neighborhood bird observations into eBird since 2006, and according to those records I've seen 198 species of birds here.)

In the past couple years, more people have been birding in our neighborhood, and many of them also enter their observations into eBird. (I hope I've had something to do with this trend!) Some of these observations are available for anyone to see, because eBird now has 2 public birding locations at either end of Lake Creek Trail. A list of bird sightings submitted to eBird is called an "Observation". And each observation is associated with a "Location". eBird users create Locations or use existing ones. Locations representing birding areas that are publicly accessible are called "Hotspots". This map shows the 2 eBird Hotspots in our neighborhood, marked with blue markers:

Lake Creek Trail eBird Hotspots

You can click on it to view a larger version on Flickr. The one on the left is named "Lake Creek Trail (Williamson Co.)" and it located at the west end of the trail, at the Braes Valley parking lot. The other is named "Parmer Village Trail" and is on the east end of the trail at the parking lot in front of the Parmer Village model homes. What's exciting is that all of the bird observations that eBird users enter for these Hotspots is publicly viewable here.

The list is even a bit interactive. You can click on each species and see a map showing which of the 2 locations where it was recorded, and clicking on the location marker shows the observers' names. I added this link to my "Important Stuff" section on the right, called "Lake Creek Trail Observations in eBird". It's pretty fun!

If you enjoy identifying birds in our neighborhood, I encourage you to check out eBird. You can create a private Location that represents your yard and use eBird to keep track of your all the birds you see there. And if you bird on Lake Creek Trail you can use one of the 2 public Hotspot Locations above, so other local birders can see what you found. And it all helps advance our knowledge of bird distribution and population!

1 comment:

Dan Huber said...

I also love ebird and its great to see the community growing. I'm up in CT but it is interesting to follow the sightings on it.