The Cornell Lab of Ornithology release a few day ago their new app eBird. The goal of the app is maximize the utility and accessibility of the vast number of bird observations made each year by recreational and professional bird watchers.
The app is very simple to use, simply enters when, where and how they went birding, then fills out a checklist of all the birds seen and heard during the outing. The observations of each participant join those of others in an international network of users. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology then shares these observations with a global community of educators, land managers, ornithologists, and conservation biologists.
Bird data are accessible to anyone via the eBird web site and other applications developed by the global biodiversity information community. For example, eBird data are part of the Avian Knowledge Network (AKN), which integrates observational data on bird populations across the western hemisphere. In turn, the AKN feeds eBird data to international biodiversity data systems, such as the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). In this way any contribution made to eBird increases our understanding of the distribution, richness, and uniqueness of the biodiversity of our planet.
My impression after a few days using this app is great, is simple to use and if you don’t have signal or Internet access you can create an offline checklist and then upload it when you connect to a Wi-Fi Network. I believe that each observation is valuable and lose their value if they remain separate from one another. The only way that all these bird observation are valuable is when they are collected and organized into a central database.
eBird is currently only available for iOS but they are working in an Android version of the app and will be available in the coming months. You can download the app here.