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VTBIRD  August 2007

VTBIRD August 2007

Subject:

eBird releases rare bird "Google Gadget"

From:

Al Merritt <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Vermont Birds <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 8 Aug 2007 17:17:29 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (82 lines)

 
To VT birders,
From Al Merritt, Brattleboro, VT
I have picked this up from MASSBIRD, and thought it would be of interest to
everyone:

First...an introduction. For those of you I've not met, I am a Maryland-born
birder who spent my last five years in California but moved to West Roxbury,
MA, in August 2006. for the past 7 years I had been working as a tour guide
for Victor Emanuel Nature Tours (leading trips in the USA, Mexico, Belize,
Panama, and Kenya) and recently "retired". Last month I started working as
an eBird Project Leader and will be focusing on developing and promoting
eBird. If you are not familiar with eBird (www.ebird.org), it is a checklist
program that allows birders to track their personal sightings and lists
(e.g., Massachusetts state list, year list, or Essex County list) while at
the same time providing data that can be used by researchers, conservation
groups, and anyone in the general public with an interest in bird
observational data. Our philosophy is that is better to collate them in an
online database than to leave them collecting dust in your personal
notebooks.

Below is a news release about the "Google Gadget", which is a new tool for
hearing about rare birds in Massachusetts and elsewhere. Best of all, a
"Google Maps" feature allows you to see the location on a satellite image
and get directions to the rarity from your home or office! I urge you to
check it out.

***************************************************************************
eBIRD NEWS FLASH: Across the country, there are legions of birders (perhaps
even you) that are tied to their local birding listserv, checking back in
hourly to see if any new, rare bird has appeared in their local Region. Has
the Brooklyn, NY, Western Reef-Heron been seen today? It is August and
shorebirds are streaming through-has anyone discovered a Little Stint? What
about a Red-necked? These bewildered vagrant birds were once collected with
shotguns; then were shared among small circles of friends and ever expanding
phone trees; then phone-in rare bird alerts widened the rare bird audience;
and online RBAs widened the audience further. Now listservs, working in
tandem with RBAs, provide real-time accessibility to rare bird reports.
 
Rarity lovers now have a new tool at their disposal-the GOOGLE GADGET. This
is a small device that can be added to an iGoogle homepage, or any webpage,
and displays the week's rarest birds in whatever state you select. The
gadget gives observer name, date, and location, including a Google Maps plot
of the location of the bird-within seconds you can get printable directions
from your home or office! It even gives an indication of whether the
sighting has been confirmed by a local expert (something listservs do not
always provide). Some people have 5 or more gadgets loaded at the same time
displaying all their favorite local states.
 
The gadget is updated every 15 minutes and works off submissions to
eBird-only by entering a sighting into eBird will it be displayed.  Read
more about the gadget, learn how to get it, and enter your sightings (not
just of rare birds), at www.ebird.org <http://ebird.org>  (once there, click
on the Fork-tailed Flycatcher for more information about the gadget).
Participation in eBird has the larger goal of providing data valuable to
researchers, land managers, and even curious birders. Bar graphs and maps
can be easily generated or your sightings or of all sightings submitted of a
particular species or a particular location or hotspot. 
 
So, check out the Google Gadget. It might be the first place that news
breaks about the next mega-rarity in Massachusetts or an adjacent state!
(Currently Massachusetts is showing only a couple records, but try Texas,
California, or New York.and then go find a "gadget bird" at your local
patch!)

Good eBirding,

Marshall Iliff
 
-------------------------------------------------
Marshall J. Iliff
West Roxbury, MA
miliff AT aol.com
-------------------------------------------------
eBird/AKN Project Leader
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Rd.
Ithaca, NY 14850 
http://www.ebird.org 
http://www.avianknowledge.net
-------------------------------------------------

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