Birds of the World and eBird

eBird is the world’s largest biodiversity-related citizen science project, with more than 100 million bird observations contributed each year by eBirders around the world. Since its inception in 2000, eBird has been a collaborative enterprise with hundreds of partner organizations, thousands of regional experts, and hundreds of thousands of users. eBird data document bird distribution, abundance, habitat use, and trends through checklist data collected within a simple, scientific framework: birders enter when, where, and how they went birding, and then fill out a checklist of all the birds seen and heard.

But eBird has become more than an inventory of the world’s birds, it’s become a primary tool for avian conservation. eBird data and its associated science outputs are being used every day to support data-driven conservation planning and decision-making. Some examples include: saving endangered species, protecting eagles from wind turbines, expanding protected lands, and outlawing drones from harassing wildlife.

The Cornell Lab is grateful to everyone who has contributed in one way or another to eBird. At its March 2020 debut, Birds of the World had been integrated with more than 700,000 million eBird observations and several key science outputs.

Personal eBird badges

To add a more personalized, fun, and informative experience for eBirders who subscribe to BOW, the eBird badge system has been incorporated on every species account. These badges light up blue when the logged in user has seen, photographed, or sound recorded the species.

eBird data products

There are three types of eBird data products currently incorporated into Birds of the World; two are modeled data products from the eBird Status and Trends outputs; and one is a range map based on eBird observational data.

  • eBird Range maps, or “purple maps” as they are sometimes called, show eBird observational data represented as frequency of occurrence in 100 or 20 kilometer grids for the world. Darker shades of purple indicate higher frequencies. Every species has an eBird range map on the Distribution page, and some species only have an eBird range map if we lack a more traditional static range map for the taxon.
  • eBird Abundance maps depict the seasonally-averaged estimated relative abundance, defined as the expected count on an eBird Traveling Count starting at the optimal time of day with the optimal search duration and distance that maximizes detection of that species in a region. These maps are available today for ~600 species. In the future as eBird’s modeling capabilities expand globally, we will incorporate these best-in-class abundance maps for a broader array of species. When available these maps are displayed on the species Introduction page and/or on the Distribution page.
  • eBird Abundance animations depict weekly estimated relative abundance, defined as the expected count on an eBird Traveling Count starting at the optimal time of day with the optimal search duration and distance that maximizes detection of that species in a region on the specified date. These abundance animations can be found on the Movement Ecology page when available.

eBird only publishes these science outputs when they have passed analytical and expert data quality review. In future releases eBird will expand the Status and Trends products to include more species across more regions around the globe. Here is a current species list.

Find out more about the data analysis used to generate these products at the Status and Trends FAQ page.