How to Contribute

We welcome you to join the global community of ornithologists and media contributors working to update and expand Birds of the World – the world’s largest collection of avian life histories and integrated data resources that power scientific research, education, and biodiversity conservation.

Species accounts are under constant revision by ornithologists around the world. If you are interested in revising a species account, a group of species accounts, or contributing media there are several different ways to get involved.

Why contribute?

By contributing to BOW, you are joining a prestigious community that is committed to building a global ornithological resource. We aim to make BOW the singular source for the collected biology of all birds of the world. Our ultimate goal is to generate authoritative and complete species accounts for each of the roughly 11,017 species of birds in the world.

Each BOW species account is a citable scientific publication identifiable by DOI. Individual contributors to BOW accounts merit authorship or acknowledgment for their contributions. Aside from traditional authorship, BOW is a great venue to publish valuable datasets, observations, and media that may not be best-suited for traditional research journals.

Organizations (e.g., American Ornithological Society, Bird Count India), who have agreed to revise and maintain accounts will have their logo displayed on species accounts and/or the homepage and may negotiate free BOW access for their constituents.

Significant contributors, i.e., those who have authored or revised species accounts or contributed large media catalogues, receive complimentary Contributor Access to BOW. Contributor Access is active for a term of two years and may be renewed at any point during that time by participating in the revision or maintenance of species accounts.

Opportunities to contribute

There are many opportunities to contribute to existing accounts or sections of existing accounts

If you are already a Birds of North America (BNA), Neotropical Birds (NB), Handbook of Birds of the World (HBW), or Birds of the World (BOW) contributor and looking for guidelines, policies, or have questions about style, formatting, access, or other please visit our Contributor Portal.

Contributing text

BOW releases newly updated species accounts every week, and are seeking revisers and contributors for many others.

We typically publish two types of updates

  1. Full revision: this will involve assessment of the entire account with updates across as many sections as appropriate commensurate with the publications on the species’ biology. Revisers should aim to do an exhaustive literature search and populate text and references into as many of the pages, sections, and subsections as possible.
  2. Partial revision: does not involve an update of the entire account. Examples of partial revisions include revisions to update systematics/taxonomy, additional information from one or a few publications, and/or revision of one or more sections by a subject matter expert.

If you are interested in revising an account, please contact the Managing Editor, Brooke Keeney (bkk37@cornell.edu), to discuss the possibilities. In your initial contact, you should include your full name (First Name, Middle Initial, Last Name), a short list of one or more species of interest to you, a little about your background and experience with your species of interest (or birds generally), as well as your Cornell Lab username. If you don’t already have a Cornell Lab (or eBird) username, create one here.

Contributing media

We are constantly seeking media to augment BOW species accounts. In general, we appreciate all high-quality images, audio, and video, but we are particularly interested in media that illustrates aspects of a species’ ecology, habitat, life history, behavior, and/or other relevant details of that species’ biology. For more details on what types of media we are looking for, please see the Contributor Portal.

If you are interested in sharing your images with BOW, the best way is via eBird: (http://ebird.org/content/ebird/) and Macaulay Library. If you are not already familiar with it, eBird is a free, online checklist program where users can submit their observations alongside images (or audio etc.). BOW often references eBird observations, as do many other projects of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, so it is a great, centralized way to make sure your observations are put to the best use. The Macaulay Library is the world’s premier scientific archive of natural history audio, video, and photographs.

Instructions for uploading media to eBird and the Macaulay Library are here: Adding Photos and Audio to eBird Checklists.

We prefer that images be at least 2500px on the long end (max 3000px) and without a watermark whenever possible. Any media you would like to be considered for use should be accompanied by some basic metadata, including the date the image was taken, the precise location, and any other information that you can provide, (age, sex, behavior, molt, etc).  If you lack some of these metadata, your observations are still useful. Please see guidelines for Incidental or Historical protocols here.

By submitting media, you consent to give Cornell Lab permission to use the content you have shared on the BOW website and/or associated BOW social media as we may need, and potentially other projects of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology (see full Terms of Use for media submitted to eBird/Macaulay Library).