Now that Nancy and I have just gone through the process of working on our Fall Report for New England in North American Birds for one more year we thought we should lend support to Kent's efforts to get Vermont's birders to regularly report their sightings to Vermont eBird.
If the majority of Vermont's birders do not submit their sightings to eBird, the North American Birds Regional editors can't use eBird effectively as a primary resource for writing their seasonal reports. The current situation finds Nancy and I plucking bird information from a disparate and hard to summarize selection of sources including e-mail to VTBIRD, a few seasonal lists sent by conscientious birders, hearsay, and eBird. eBird should not be at the end of this list, it should be the first thing Regional Editors can turn to for thorough and reliable summaries of bird records for a state or region. If most of Vermont's birders faithfully submitted trip lists to eBird it would be a much more valuable resource for Nancy and I and the other New England Regional Editors than it is at present. Even if birders only entered what they considered their birding highlights, rather than complete trip lists, it would be a great help in streamlining the editing process for Nancy and I.
All online data entry can take some time at first when a particular system is new to you. However it only takes a few sessions to become comfortable with any fill-in-the-blank online data entry system and required fields are flagged so you can skip any optional fields for which you lack information. If you have entered Vermont Atlas data at the site hosted by the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center you should feel right at home at eBird. Consider what an exciting and useful tool eBird could be for learning about the distribution, seasonality, and relative abundance of Vermont birds. What is more you could become a valuable contributor to that knowledge. Everyone benefits.
Walter Ellison & Nancy Martin
Fall Regional Editors, North American Birds (ABA), New England
23460 Clarissa Road
Chestertown, MD 21620
e-mail: [log in to unmask]
"A person who is looking for something doesn't travel very fast" - E. B. White (in "Stuart Little")
"Are there *ever* enough birds?" - Connie Hagar as quoted by Edwin Way Teale in "Wandering through Winter"