Posted August 25, 2022
Have you been thinking about getting into birding but don’t know where to start? Would you like to learn how to better identify our local bird species? Are you already an experienced birder and wondering how your bird list data can contribute to the greater scientific community? Do you just think birds are awesome and want to learn more about key bird species of our local pine barrens habitat?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then the September eBird program series hosted by the Wareham Land Trust and Mass Audubon is for you!
Unfamiliar with eBird? eBird is one of the world’s largest biodiversity-related science projects, with more than 100 million bird sightings contributed annually by eBirders around the world. The goal of eBird is to gather data in the form of bird checklists, archive it, and freely share it to support science, conservation, and education programs on local, regional, and global scales. Learn more about the eBird platform and how everyday citizens like yourself can contribute to a global understanding of bird populations on the eBird website.
Earlier this year, the Wareham Land Trust, Mass Audubon, and the Massachusetts Coastal Pine Barrens Partnership, our Regional Conservation Partnership organization, received an eBird mini grant to host workshops that train participants in how to use eBird. Our September eBird program will take a hybrid approach, with one virtual workshop followed by three in-person field sessions.
The virtual workshop will cover both basic bird identification skills and how to use the eBird platform. The first half of the virtual workshop will cover introductory bird identification, key field marks, and important life history traits with an emphasis on species of interest in the coastal pine barrens ecoregion. The second half of the virtual workshop will cover how to use the eBird platform to contribute valuable field data, including a tour of eBird, how to get started with an eBird account, and how to include both qualitative and quantitative data in an eBird list. Hands-on field sessions will then allow participants to put workshop content into practice and receive both identification and technological support in real time.
We hope that these programs will inspire people within the coastal pine barrens ecoregion to utilize eBird moving forward. The biodiversity of many of the protected lands within the Massachusetts Coastal Pine Barrens Partnership region is understudied and would benefit from better data collection across all taxa. Using eBird can help contribute to a better understanding of bird diversity and abundance at specific locations (for other groups of organisms, we recommend exploring iNaturalist). Conservation organizations, like the Wareham Land Trust, can then query the information in the larger eBird database to help support management actions, land acquisition priorities and more. By using eBird, you can contribute to a regional citizen-science driven dataset that can directly influence conservation actions moving forward.
Written by Elise Leduc-Fleming, WLT Executive Director