I have questions…

Friday, August 23rd, 2019

I have questions…

Reposted from https://lies.tumblr.com/post/187221948411.

Hey so I’ve been thinking about joining eBird, but I haven’t decided yet (so I guess I’m sending you this ask so you can convince me to do it?) I’ve been reading about birding apps since I went on a trip to California last week and forgot my bird book so I re-downloaded the Merlin Bird app. when i used it before, it was very very basic, but they’ve updated it a lot since then!! I was impressed. Apparently the Audubon app is also supposed to be good? Do you have opinions on birding apps??

Thursday, February 21st, 2019

Reasons why you should get an eBird account:

It’s amazingly good. I’ve been building database-backed websites since the beginning of those. It’s easy to disappoint me and hard to impress me, and I’m very impressed by eBird.

It works hard to meet you wherever you as a user happen to be. If you want to use it as an online list-keeping tool that keeps track of all your data and lets you slice and dice it different ways, but you want to pretend no one else on the site exists and not let them see your data, it does that. If you want to do that but also make your information public it does that too, with a very full set of features to hide or show as much or as little of your information to the public as you want.

If you want to know what birds have been seen at a particular place and when they’ve been seen there, it’s awesome. If you want to know where you might be able to see a particular species, it’s awesome. If you want to set a personal goal to see as many species as possible within a given geographic region, it’s awesome.

All of the above refers to the website. The eBird app is also awesome, but differently. It’s a fantastic tool for entering your data in the field. And it continues to improve in significant ways at a steady pace. The recent update that lets you edit a checklist in the app after submitting it is fantastic, for example.

In terms of identification apps, I have all of them, but my favorite is the Sibley app. (Unsurprising, since I’ve been a Sibley fan since his field guide first came out.) It’s not as good as having the book with you, but it’s a lot easier to carry (since I always have my phone with me). I probably refer to it once or twice on most outings, and also use it occasionally for playback (though I’m ethically opposed to using playback myself in most situations).

If I were starting out I’d definitely use Merlin. The latest version, as you say, is very impressive. (One of the things that makes it so impressive is that it uses the distribution and abundance data from eBird to rank the identifications it offers you, so I guess this is another reason to use eBird: because the data you contribute is helping all the Merlin users.) Merlin isn’t directly useful for me currently, because I’m birding in areas I know so well that I have that information in my head already. If I’m having an ID challenge it’s because I’m dealing with a rarity or a relatively fine-grained distinction, and Merlin isn’t as helpful for that. But if I were traveling somewhere else I would definitely use it.

Final reason for joining eBird: if you do that and choose to make a public profile I can see where you’ve been birdwatching and vicariously enjoy your outings. 🙂

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/182962095721.