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Hello all of you who submit checklists to eBird.

As an eBird reviewer I see many checklists.  And I note a 
misunderstanding about one entry line when submitting a checklist.

When you are submitting a checklist there is the page that asks for 
Observation Date and Type, for Start Time and Duration, etc.  The last 
entry line is "Comments."

It is this "Comments" opportunity that is misunderstood.  Most people 
enter comments here that apply to the whole birding event that created 
the checklist being submitted.  So there are comments such as:  "Rainy 
and foggy, viewing difficult."  "Remained on the trail."  "Christmas 
Bird Count for Sector 7."  "Observers included exceptional birders 
including David Sibley."  "Identifications verified by Sam and Sarah 
Ridley who helped me immensely."  "Bird counts were all gross 
estimates."  "Data collected with standardized UVM Grassland Bird survey 
protocols."  "Nocturnal bird count from dormitory roof."  "Celebrating 
Meg's birthday: Jane, Ralph, Izzy, Sapari, and Bo the Beagle." 
"All-night search for Sedge Wren."  And so on.

This "Comments" opportunity is, in fact, the only place where you can 
enter comments that refer to the whole event.

The problem is this --  The only people who can see the comments are you 
the submitter and eBird administrators, eBird reviewers, and eBird 
approved researchers.  No one else can.  When someone views a checklist 
when finding it on an eBird map (via "Explore Data ....Range and Point 
Maps") the comments are absent.  If someone posts a link to a checklist, 
or sends you the link, on the checklist you are looking at the comments 
are absent.  So you never get to know what the submitter thinks you 
should or might want to know when looking over the birds on the checklist.

Soooo ..... most of us put comments in this entry box with the 
reasonable and unquestioned expectation that anyone viewing the 
checklist will be seeing the comments.  This becomes significant if we 
write something there that is particularly important or helpful in 
understanding the bird observations being reported.  But, in fact, most 
users will never see the comments.  Awk!!!

While this restriction might be changed sometime in the future, at 
present the restriction continues in place.

A poor but possible solution could be to take those comments that would 
logically (it seems) to go in the general information about the 
checklist and place them in the comments box for one of the species 
included in the checklist.  That way, at least, everyone viewing the 
checklist could see them.

Good winter birding to all ......

Ian