Help eBird reach 100 million observations; you might win a prize!

August 2, 2012

Snow Geese by TheWorldThroughMyEyes/Birdshare

Our eBird online checklist program is racing toward a major landmark—100 million bird observations. We’re only about a half-million observations away, and while that may sound like a lot, the pace of contributions is so fast that we’ll probably pass the milestone in late August.

If you already use eBird, or if you’re interested in using the program to keep track of your sightings and help scientists, we encourage you to go birding and then enter what you see. As a bit of extra incentive, and to celebrate the achievement, we’ll award prizes to two people: the person who submits the 100,000,000th observation; and another for a checklist drawn at random from now until the 100,000,000th observation comes in. To be eligible, your checklist will need to include all the species you observed and were able to identify. But the more checklists you enter, the more likely you are to win!

What exactly is an “observation” according to eBird? Each species reported on an eBird checklist counts as one observation, no matter how many you see. So if you saw a sky full of Snow Geese as in the photo above, that would count as one eBird observation. If you also saw a Song Sparrow, a Northern Pintail, and a Red-winged Blackbird and entered them into eBird, those would count as three additional observations toward our 100,000,000 goal.

And the prizes? They’re something of a mystery, but the eBird team promises they’ll be great. To keep things fun and personal, each member of the 8-person team—Chris Wood, Brian Sullivan, Marshall Iliff, Jeff Gerbracht, Tim Lenz, Tom Fredericks, Will Morris, and director Steve Kelling—will choose a small gift to include in the prize. “Trust us,” they said, “They will be fun.” See the eBird team’s post for more details.

(Image: Snow Geese by TheWorldThroughMyEyes via Birdshare.)


  • I have sighted many species of birds while on vacation so I will be glad to share my findings on ebird.

  • Millie Simbeck

    I saw a black and White Warbler, A Blackburnian Warbler, robin, a Flicker and a few black capped chickadee, crow, gold finch and turkey vultures all from my deck in north central Pa.

  • This include eBird Puerto Rico?

  • Hugh

    Hi – Yes, it includes any full checklists submitted to eBird from anywhere. Thanks! – Hugh

  • The famous wild flock of Monk Parakeets near the Town Lake area have multiplied and are being spotted all over town.. They are really colorfull but make a real obnoxious sound…. Looks like they are flourishing in our drought. Bea

  • Kat

    Maybe I missed this, but do the observations have to be within a certain time period or can they be from a year or so back?
    Thank you

  • Hugh

    Hi Kat – the observations can be from any time period. Thanks and good luck! – Hugh

  • diana schulz

    I go birding everyday with my dog along the Rio Grande River in Matamoros Mex. & I feed the birds from my balcony, I see many different birds each day & want to share them with others

  • Nancy Jewell

    I saw a young blue tailed mole skink at my Allstate agent’s office the other day. They’re located in an office park amidst a busy street and businesses with just a small lot of scrub trees and overgrowth. It was amazing… I’m going back with my camera as I’m hoping to find the rest of the family!

  • Beverly Wirth

    We now have a total of 33 spotings on our property in Amber, NY… which is for sale as “Bird-Lover’s Sanctuary”

  • diana schulz

    I’m new to ebird, could someone explain the difference between a juvenile & an immature bird. I’m not exactly sure. Also what kind of sparrows are the common brown ones (not house) I see? They don’t seem to fit exactly into the categories I see in the book I have. Thanks diana

  • Hugh

    Hi Diana – “Juvenile” and “immature” are often used interchangeably by people, but there is a difference. A juvenile is a very young bird that is still wearing the set of feathers it fledged with. As soon as it goes through its first molt, it’s considered an immature until it reaches breeding maturity. As for your sparrows—there could be many types of common sparrows or sparrowlike birds, depending on where you are. Examples include Chipping and Song sparrows; female House Finches can also look quite sparrowlike. Hope this helps! – Hugh

Help eBird reach 100 million observations; you might win a prize!