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.

With eBird Mobile birding has never been easier. This free mobile app works anywhere in the world, helping you quickly enter checklists while keeping track of your exact birding route. Letting you just enjoy the birds. When you first install the app, you’ll need to download a pack of information on what birds are expected in your region. Bird packs let you get a precise list of birds for your area, regardless of your Internet connection. The apple suggests the best pack based on where you are. And you can download other packs through settings at any time. Now you’re ready to start birding. Typically, you’ll be entering a checklist in real-time, so the app knows the date and time you’re starting. I wanna record my track, so I’ll leave that on. Tracking is a great feature that allows eBird to fill in where you’re birding, how far you travel, and how long you’re birding for. It keeps track so you don’t have to. All right, you’re all set. Now click start checklist. When you start a checklist, eBird uses your current GPS location and your bird packs to provide a list of expected species that are likely to be in that area at that time of year. You’ll fill in this checklist as you go. Once you’ve found a bird you know, by sight or sound, the fastest way to add it is to type right here, in the quick entry bar. Let’s start with two Mallards out on the pond. Type the number of birds, two, and the species, Mallard. Then select the species from the checklist, and you’re all set! It’s that easy. Let’s enter a few more sightings the same way. Here’s five Canada Geese, forging in the grass. Sounds like there’s a Red-tailed Hawk calling nearby. And there’s an Osprey, eating a fish. And a Great Blue Heron flying overhead. You can see all the birds you’ve already tallied by switching to the checked view. This is particularly helpful for adding more sightings to a species. For example, you see three more Mallards; tap the number three times and you’re all set. You’ll notice some birds have these icons next to their names. These show whether a bird is infrequently reported or unreported for that region and time of year. By tapping a species name, you can make changes to your tally, or add comments about the bird’s field marks, its behavior, the habitat you saw it in, or anything else you find interesting. This is especially important for those rare and unusual sightings. You can see where you’ve been by clicking here to review your track. When you’re finished birding, tap stop. If you have an active track, eBird will ask you if you’re done birding. Tap stop track to confirm. Now it’s time to review your checklist. The first thing you’ll need to do is add your location. The best way to do this is to use the map. It’s important to chose a location that accurately represents where you were birding. You can either chose an appropriate existing location, or create a new location by tapping on the map. In this case, you were birding at Sapsucker Woods, so chose that location. Next is info about your birding outing. This is what makes eBird tracking great. Tracking has already defined your checklist type based on whether you were moving or stationary. Tracking also fills in the duration and distance traveled. You can change your checklist type and edit the other fields if you need to. Before you can submit, eBird asks if you’re submitting a complete checklist of the birds you were able to identify. Complete checklists are eBird’s way of knowing you’ve identified and reported all of the birds you saw or heard to the best of your ability. It’s not possible to detect every single bird, nobody can do that. As long as you’ve listed all of the species you could identify, then check yes. You can also enter comments about your birding experience. You can document the weather, other animals you saw, or any other fun memories. Last but not least, you can review the species you reported. When you’re ready, click submit. Congratulations, you’re an eBirder. You’re now part of the largest birding community in the world.

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Step 1: Set Up eBird Mobile on Your Phone

  1. Download the eBird Mobile app to your smartphone.

Get eBird Mobile app

  1. 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.
  2. Set your Preferences.
    • Set your language for bird names (common vs. scientific.) We recommend common.
    • Set preferred distance unit (metric or imperial.)
  3. 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

  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.Picture of eBird Get Started button.
    • 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.
  4. Choose your location.Belted Kingfisher being IDed in eBird Mobile.
    • 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.
  5. 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).
  6. Review and Submit.
    What a phone screen looks like when completing a complete Checklist.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!

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