Using eBird Mobile to Participate

Welcome! If you have previously entered data for the Great Backyard Bird Count, or tried Merlin Bird ID and now want to enter more birds, we recommend you use the eBird Mobile app to enter your bird sightings.

Step 1: Set Up eBird Mobile on Your Phone

  1. Download the eBird Mobile app to your smartphone.

Step 2: Enter Your Sightings

Picture of eBird Get Started button.
  1. Start a Checklist.
    • When you are ready, tap Start Checklist.
    • Use the current date and time, or adjust these values if you’re reporting sightings you made earlier.
    • Watch and count birds for a minimum of 15 minutes.
    • Record Tracks is selected by default. No travel will be recorded unless you are walking or hiking while you are using the app. Tracks, however, will keep an automated GPS path of your route and record your distance traveled and time spent in the field so you can focus on birding. We highly recommend this!
  2. Enter every species that you see or hear and can identify, as well as the number of individuals you observed during your outing.
    • Need some tips on how to count birds? See our counting tips document to help answer your questions.
    • Pro tip: tap the 3 graduated lines on the bottom of your checklist to sort the list by the species you are most likely to encounter—That’s smart sort.
    • Pro tip: Want to see a list of just the species you’ve observed so far on your outing? Tap the check mark at the bottom of your checklist.
    • See more pro tips for using eBird Mobile.
  3. When you are done birding hit Stop.
Belted Kingfisher being IDed in eBird Mobile.
  1. Choose your location.
    • Tap to choose your location. Pick a nearby location that represents where you went birding, or create a new location using the map. Then tap, Use This Location.
    • Here’s more help with selecting your location.
  2. Provide details about your birding session.
    • Checklist type: If you observed birds in one place, be sure stationary is selected. If you went for a walk while birding, select traveling.
    • Group size: Enter how many people were birdwatching. Here’s how to share checklists with your birding partners.
    • Duration: The app calculates your time spent birdwatching. You can adjust this number as necessary (for instance, if you’re entering a checklist after the fact).
What a phone screen looks like when completing a complete Checklist.
Select YES for submitting a complete checklist.
  1. Review and Submit.
    • Scan your entries to make sure all information is accurate.
    • Answer YES to submitting a complete checklist.
      • A complete checklist is any eBird list where birding was your primary purpose, and every species you could identify to the best of your ability, by sight and/or sound, is reported. You need not have counted all the individuals you saw – though accurate counts are always preferred! As long as you aren’t intentionally leaving any species off your list, you’re submitting a complete checklist.
    • No reception? No problem! Press Close, instead of Submit to store the checklist on your phone until you have an internet connection. Stored checklists can be found on the Not Submitted tab of the Checklists screen. Make sure to submit your checklists as soon as you have reception!

Congratulations! You’ve participated in the Great Backyard Bird Count!

Additional resources: