• BirdForum is the net's largest birding community dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE!

    Register for an account to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

What is your list? (1 Viewer)

Milkquasy

Active member
United States
What do you use to keep your list? I have the Sibley but it seems so sterile. Can you share pictures or descriptions of your list book, software, etc?

Thanks!
 

jmepler

It's just a flesh wound.
I use eBird as my official list. You can get county, state, country, or world lists. Any of these can also be for either a specific year, or for all time. You can also look at every sighting that you have ever had of a specific species with the same sorting capabilities. Using eBird to track your sightings also gives you the ability to add notes and pictures to your sighting. And it is all backed up by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, so you don't need to worry about losing your information.
 

Milkquasy

Active member
United States
I use eBird as my official list. You can get county, state, country, or world lists. Any of these can also be for either a specific year, or for all time. You can also look at every sighting that you have ever had of a specific species with the same sorting capabilities. Using eBird to track your sightings also gives you the ability to add notes and pictures to your sighting. And it is all backed up by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, so you don't need to worry about losing your information.
I looked at ebird but it's getting a bunch of bad reviews for messing with people's info.
 

Nutcracker

Stop Brexit!
I'm curious about what you mean by "messing with people's info." Can you share the reviews that you are looking at?
Here's an example: it'll tell me I've only got one species in this photo, when there's actually two (Anas crecca left, Anas carolinensis right)
IMG_0996a.jpg
 

jmepler

It's just a flesh wound.
Here's an example: it'll tell me I've only got one species in this photo, when there's actually two (Anas crecca left, Anas carolinensis right)

Are you talking about eBird, or the Merlin bird identification extension? I am not aware of anything automated within eBird that would dispute what you have on your checklist. What eBird has is a staff of volunteer (human) reviewers that may email you with requests for more information to help substantiate your sightings, but nothing automatic, as far as I know.
 

Milkquasy

Active member
United States
I'm curious about what you mean by "messing with people's info." Can you share the reviews that you are looking at?
various recent reviews said that the new update prevented the app from opening, which means they can't get to their lists. Now that I am typing this, let me check again and see if anything has changed. Search function won't work. won't open, refuses to update, won't let lists be updated. I guess this could be a temporary issue, but it worries me a bit.
 

jmepler

It's just a flesh wound.
various recent reviews said that the new update prevented the app from opening, which means they can't get to their lists. Now that I am typing this, let me check again and see if anything has changed. Search function won't work. won't open, refuses to update, won't let lists be updated. I guess this could be a temporary issue, but it worries me a bit.
So you are talking about the eBird mobile app. There was a major upgrade about two years ago that caused me to have to reinstall the app. Other than that I really have not any problems with it. Nearly every birder that I know uses the mobile app, and I have not heard any complaints since that major upgrade. With a mobile app you need to remember that you have people using multiple versions of the app on multiple versions of multiple mobile operating systems. These are a lot of variables to account for.

The app is rated 4 stars, and it is free. Other than a little time to set up a free account, you have nothing to lose by trying it.

You also don't need to use the app in order to use eBird. For a long time I would keep a paper checklist while I was out birding. Then I would enter my information on my PC when I got home. I feel like my information is more secure with eBird than it would be if I was maintaining my own list, and it is available anywhere I have a mobile signal or a PC.
 

YuShan

Well-known member
Scythebill. It's free, open source, offline and great to use. I wouldn't trust my life list with some commercial online company (though you can easily export your Scythebill lists to ebird etc if you want to).
 

lgonz1008

Well-known member
United States
eBird User here too, all of my checklists are added through the app on the field, but I keep track of my uploaded images, life lists, etc. through the website. The eBird app is mostly to be used as an easy way to make checklists while on the field, as opposed to writing down notes or remembering so then they could be added when you get home.

If you want an easy and stable setup that actually is progressing and is letting your data be used for scientific data, eBird is the way to go, outside of some old school birders I've met that refuse to even get Facebook, I don't think I've seen any serious or at least semi-serious birder in my region (Florida/USA) to not use eBird.


However, if you want to keep life lists for other groups like mammals, reptiles, etc., I would recommend to use Scythebill. Personally I like to keep my life lists in multiple places in case the worst happens and I lose my account or data. The one I can't recommend even though it is welcomed by many here and elsewhere is iNaturalist for the simple reason that every approved sighting needs to be photographed. Sure you can say, you saw this species, but the information is only saved for you because there was no photographic proof, which can be pretty annoying when you need to submit your umpteenth sighting of Rock (Feral) Pigeon.
 
Last edited:

Nutcracker

Stop Brexit!
Are you talking about eBird, or the Merlin bird identification extension? I am not aware of anything automated within eBird that would dispute what you have on your checklist. What eBird has is a staff of volunteer (human) reviewers that may email you with requests for more information to help substantiate your sightings, but nothing automatic, as far as I know.
About ebird. It treats European Anas crecca as a subspecies of North American Anas carolinensis, instead of as two separate species as I (and everyone else in UK) do.
 

jmepler

It's just a flesh wound.
About ebird. It treats European Anas crecca as a subspecies of North American Anas carolinensis, instead of as two separate species as I (and everyone else in UK) do.

That is an issue with the taxonomy that eBird uses. I wouldn't call that eBird "messing with" your information.

You can still list them as the identifiable subspecies Anas crecca and Anas carolinensis, and if (when) they are split, they will show up as two species.
 

SanAngelo

Well-known member
iNaturalist, eBird - these are two different platforms with different uses; one is Citizen Science and the other is Community Science.

Put aside those eBirders who submit with photos, the majority of submissions are “listers” with no photos. Listers data is grouped together in bunches to affirm and develop trends, thus the community estabishes Community Science.

iNaturalist require photos, falling under the more accepted term of Citizen Science. The comments, agreeing/disagreeing, form a general consensus of Citizen Science Peer Review.

I think with this understanding, you'll find Universities (USA) using iNaturalist more so than eBird for their assigned undergraduate studies. Although, they both have useful properties.

ebird seems equally adapted for the less serious birder, where no one really questions the submission (of listers) other than a reviewer maybe asking for photos of a specific bird. Lots of egos being stroked; race to the top lister, best daily and greatest number of photo shots, daily species count.....and so on. It's made for those birders who have OCD obsessions.

I know of “professional” birders (income derived from) who work in the field who do not use eBird for a number of reasons; the most compelling is data protection.

I'm not saying this is correct or it's right or wrong, this is just my understanding. I'd gladly stand corrected if anyone would care to point out my flaws.

As a qualifier; I do not use iNaturalist, my eBird list is of rare or unusual sightings only and always accompanied with photos.

I don't have a smart phone so everything is done on a desk top.

“My list” is compiled in a number of bird guides, written in the margins next to the bird description with dates and places of sightings. Makes for wonderful memories; the guide takes on the nature of an old friend.

I don't think I've seen any serious or at least semi-serious birder in my region (Florida/USA) to not use eBird.

How serious do you have to be, to be a serious birder?

I'm asking for clarification or was that a throw-away line; understood for what it is by any passionate birder?

No argument here, just trying to limit self judgement.
 

Nutcracker

Stop Brexit!
That is an issue with the taxonomy that eBird uses. I wouldn't call that eBird "messing with" your information.

You can still list them as the identifiable subspecies Anas crecca and Anas carolinensis, and if (when) they are split, they will show up as two species.
That is exactly messing with my information. The two were split several years ago, by both UK and International authorities.

They also take my Grey Heron sighting, and display it to the world as 'gray'. If I enter it with the correct spelling, they should respect that, not just for my own personal viewing, but for everyone. I don't want other people thinking I'm an American imperialist, just because they are and mess with my list.
 

lgonz1008

Well-known member
United States
How serious do you have to be, to be a serious birder?

I'm asking for clarification or was that a throw-away line; understood for what it is by any passionate birder?

No argument here, just trying to limit self judgement.
Mostly throwaway but the trend around my area seems to be, if you have gone around chasing a local rarity, participate in the bird walks more than 3 times and have a decent pair of bins or camera, they are on eBird for the most part. In fact, last year I did a bird trip to Oregon and I was the one in charge of the checklists, outside of two people who were general nature lovers, everyone kept the pen and paper checklist but they still asked me to share the eBird list so they could add it to their records as well.

Granted, you don't need to keep eBird to be a good or serious birder (I've met a few that scoff at keeping a list on eBird yet they built their own website to show it off), but there is a certain pattern that once the person is more hooked on birding and they can ID over 50 bird species, they already have an eBird account or they are making one in the next week or so. Which you can tell because then they report a rarity and get the eBird email, I've seen newcomers (myself included a few years back) that went from seeing their first Palm Warbler to managing to find County and State rarities in less than a year like Eared Grebe, Red-legged Thrush and Heermann's Gull.

There's many levels of birding but most semi-serious or serious birders tend to like eBird more and more (for better or for worse).
 

jmepler

It's just a flesh wound.
That is exactly messing with my information. The two were split several years ago, by both UK and International authorities.

They also take my Grey Heron sighting, and display it to the world as 'gray'. If I enter it with the correct spelling, they should respect that, not just for my own personal viewing, but for everyone. I don't want other people thinking I'm an American imperialist, just because they are and mess with my list.
As long as there are multiple organizations with their own taxonomic lists, the chances of them agreeing completely with each other are slim. Perhaps eBird can add an option to let you select the list that you prefer to use.

I agree with you that Grey Heron should be spelled with an E, just as Gray Catbird should be spelled with an A, not like this.
 

Nutcracker

Stop Brexit!
I agree with you that Grey Heron should be spelled with an E, just as Gray Catbird should be spelled with an A, not like this.
Yep, agree there; e.g for Sciurus carolinensis, I use Gray Squirrel, even when talking of introduced ones in Britain. Birdguides are wrong there (y)
 

lgonz1008

Well-known member
United States
Yep, agree there; e.g for Sciurus carolinensis, I use Gray Squirrel, even when talking of introduced ones in Britain. Birdguides are wrong there (y)
Until we have a global consensus for all of the bird species this problem will continue, but when that happens I can only imagine how many birders (myself included) will groan and curse at the fact that certain species we ignored due to just being regional variants due to time constraints will be added and even more will go mad over how many species will be 'lost'. I'm not saying that the American taxonomy is better than the European one and vise versa, but we can all agree that until we have a truly global outlook to all of the bird species in our field guides, online lists, etc., these arguments will never stop and we just have to accept what we are offered.

In this case, eBird is following and expanding on Clements and it is using an American spelling and speciation logic, they are slowly adding and embracing more species than even the ABA and, sometimes, AOS is, but at the end of the day, it lets most of us have a constant way to keep our sightings online that can be used by researchers for better studies. I'm sure we've noticed how Lynx (an European publication) has recently accepted more of the eBird nomenclature for certain species (Purple Swamphen group is the first example that comes to mind), so the best we can hope for is that eventually everything comes out to what we expect. Just the Green-winged Teal is an Eurasian Teal on Europe, I'd love for the Yellow-rumped Warbler to go back to being Myrtle, Audubon's and so on, but until then, all we can do is accept what we are dealt and be glad we live in a time we have these options to begin with.
 

Trystan

Well-known member
I keep various lists on Bubo, which allows you to follow IOC or Clements for world listing, and this helps with keeping up with the rapidly changing taxonomy, as whenever there is a split or lump affecting species you've seen, you are asked to update your list.

I also built my own database using Microsoft Access into which I have copied the IOC list and populate a seen table which can be sorted by years and countries I've seen birds in. This also has the advantage that I can take the given IOC English names and modify them if I don't like them, so Great northern diver instead of Common loon, Skuas, not Jaegers etc and contrary to the above posts, English, not American spelling of words like Grey and Colour; and I can keep notes on subspecies I've seen to help with future splits.

I also keep year lists here on Birdforum and it really helps me to cross reference to lists and detect any omissions or mistakes if the numbers don't tally up, though keeping the lists in three places is a bit of work, it also gives some security from accidental loss or a site going down.
 

lmans66

Out Birding....
Supporter
United States
My data base is 'analog'....I use bird guides checklists if I am looking at a particular country or region, but here in the states I use the paper ABA bird checklist and use the columns to signify region of the US. I used to use Bird Journal until I decided to go more analog. eBird has its uses, and I will use them if traveling but sadly do not add to it...
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top