Using eBird on a Computer to Participate

Welcome! If you want to enter your bird(s) for the Great Backyard Bird Count on a computer and/or don’t have a smartphone, we’ll walk you through how to enter data on a desktop or laptop.

Three different birdlists.
Some people enjoy watching the birds and jotting down what they see on paper. Make sure to describe any “new birds” so you can look them up in the Merlin Bird ID app.

Steps to enter data:

  1. Click on the green button.

  1. Sign-in or create a free Cornell Lab account.
    • If you already have an account please use the same username and password for submitting your bird list for the Great Backyard Bird Count. If you have previously participated in the Great Backyard Bird Count, submitted to eBird, saved a bird with Merlin Bird ID, or participated in Project FeederWatch, NestWatch, Celebrate Urban Birds, etc., you have an existing account. If you don’t remember your username or password, you can recover or reset them when logging in.
Watch this video to figure out how to print a checklist of birds found in your area.

3. Select Submit at the top of the browser screen.

  1. Where did you bird? Choose or Map your Location
    • If you have entered sightings before from the location you are using for your observations, choose it from the drop down list.
    • If you are entering a new location, enter the State or Province and Country.
    • Google Maps will open and you can then enter a specific address or other identifiers to get the specific location of your bird sightings. You can also indicate your location on the map manually. First get as close as possible to the observation site using magnification, and then click with your cursor to indicate your observation site or from where you started your tour. Then a green indicator will appear. If you need to adjust its location, you can move it with your cursor.
    • Name your location, which will appear as an option in the dropdown.
      • If you don’t want your name to appear on the maps with your birding location(s), click on your name in the upper right corner, click Preferences, and select Anonymous eBirder under Public Name Display.
    • Date and Effort
      • Select the date the observation was made on, the time, duration, etc.
      • If you observed birds in one spot, choose Stationary. If you were hiking or walking, choose Traveling.
      • Incidental sightings can be used, but are less common.
      • List how many were in the birding party, if you were alone enter 1.
      • Feel free to provide any comments about the time you spent birding.
Spot on the website where you select that YES you are entering a complete checklist in eBird.
  1. What did you see or hear?
    • Report all birds you were able to identify.
    • Watch and count for a minimum of 15 minutes.
    • If you are struggling to identify birds and have a smartphone, try using Merlin Bird ID. If you want to use Merlin on a computer, go to All About Birds, and look for the Try Merlin banner at the bottom of the screen.
      Pro Tip: Use Jump to Species to search for a species by name. If you can’t find a species on the list, check the Show Rarities box.
    • Make your best estimate of how many birds you saw or heard of each species during your counting. For example, 5 Northern Cardinals, 3 American Crows. Huge flocks may be a challenge, but your best guess is still valuable. See this guide to help with how to count birds.
    • Before submitting the list you will be asked to confirm that you are submitting a complete checklist of ALL the birds you were able to identify.
      • 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.
      • If you are submitting just one bird species or you selected a species that is out of its range, a warning may come up. Please follow the prompts to resolve the issue and confirm your submission.

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

For more details and hints on entering your data on the computer, download the PDF below.

Download Counting Instructions (PDF)