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.
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Step 1: Set Up eBird Mobile on Your Phone
- Download the eBird Mobile app to your smartphone.
- Open the app on your phone and create a free Cornell Lab account.
- If you have previously participated in the Great Backyard Bird Count; another Cornell Lab project such as eBird, Bird Academy, Project FeederWatch, NestWatch, or Celebrate Urban Birds; or saved a bird with Merlin Bird ID, you have an existing account. Please use that account rather than creating a new one. If you don’t remember your username or password, you can recover or reset them when logging in.
- Set your Preferences.
- Set your language for bird names (common vs. scientific.) We recommend common.
- Set preferred distance unit (metric or imperial.)
- Install a Bird Pack based on your location.
- Packs are lists of birds you are likely to see in your region of the world. eBird will pick a pack based on your location.
- On Android devices: tap on the three bars in the upper left corner, and then Packs from the dropdown menu.
- On iOS devices: tap on the three dots by the word More in the bottom right corner, and then Packs from near the top of the screen.
Step 2: Enter Your Sightings
- 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!
- 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.
- When you are done birding hit Stop.
- 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.
- 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).
- Review and Submit.
Select YES for submitting a complete checklist.
- 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!