MADISON — Wisconsin birders identified and reported more birds through eBird, an internationally popular online bird observation website, than birders from most other states and nations in 2016.
The tropical kingbird, a flycatcher that is extremely common in the American tropics but barely reaches the United States in Texas and Arizona, was reported by birders for the first time in Wisconsin in 2016.
Photo Credit: Ryan Brady
In 2016, eBird gathered 1,406,422 observations in Wisconsin from 4,111 birders who submitted 110,807 checklists. The Wisconsin eBird site (exit DNR) contains photos, interactive maps, and write-ups sharing the highlights from the year.
eBird users recorded the first ever tropical kingbird in Wisconsin, and documented a gyrfalcon in the Superior area that has set a longevity record for the species at 15 years and 8 months. Site submissions also helped bring hundreds of people to Trempealeau County in early 2016 to see a rare pinkish, greenish woodpecker more commonly found in Western states.
“Wisconsin’s citizens are some of the leading users of eBird and that’s something to celebrate. I strongly encourage other recreational birders to give it a try and record their own sightings to help bird conservation,” says Ryan Brady, Department of Natural Resources bird monitoring coordinator. “eBirding is fun, user friendly and the most simple form of avian citizen science you can participate in.You don’t have to be an expert to do it.”
eBird was launched in 2002 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society to maximize the utility and accessibility of the vast numbers of bird observations made each year by recreational and professional bird watchers.
Birders enter information via the eBird website (exit DNR) about when, where, and how they went birding. Then they can fill out a checklist of all birds seen and heard during each outing. Automated data quality filters developed by regional bird experts review all submissions before they enter the database and local experts review unusual records flagged by the filters.
eBird helps Wisconsin complete its breeding bird survey
In addition to being an easy way to record birding observations, information collected on eBird helps provide a richer data set for researchers and natural resource professionals from Wisconsin and around the globe. eBird data is used to help complete the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II, a volunteer-based survey to help understand which birds breed in Wisconsin and how that has changed over the past 20 years since the last atlas survey was done.