In June of 2010 we made eBird data entry available around the world. This enabled traveling ABA area birders to keep all their bird lists under one roof at eBird. But implementing a single field taxonomy for all birds around the world has proven challenging. I call it a 'field taxonomy' because eBird moves beyond the simple listing of species and subspecies, to allow birders to record what they see in the field: species, subspecies, hybrids, sps., and slash combos (e.g., Clark's/Western Grebe). Our goal is to empower birders to keep complete checklists of birds without forcing them to make positive identifications when conditions are challenging. Even the best of us encounters birds we can't identify. Large flocks of distant gulls or blackbirds are good examples. But these are important to record from a ecological perspective, and eBird has built tools that let birders do just that. You are free to download our taxonomy too!
With our most recent taxonomic update in late January, birders will find more of these options available for data entry here in the United States, but also around the world. We've spent a lot of time incorporating suggestions from traveling birders, and while we've taken a significant step forward, our birder's taxonomy is still a work in progress. Please email us if you are traveling and find the available data entry options lacking. We'll be happy to incorporate your suggestions into our next taxonomic revision.
North American birders will now enjoy a few new 'lifers' with the split of the global taxon "Winter Wren" into three species, two in North America: Pacific Wren and Winter Wren. The map below shows the winter distribution of both species based on eBird data. The Pacific Wren is found primarily in the montane West (especially the NW), while the Winter Wren favors dense tangles and rank vegetation across the Southeast.
The eBird taxonomy options for the Winter Wren complex now include:
• Eurasian Wren Troglodytes troglodytes – Old World
• Pacific Wren Troglodytes pacificus – Western US and Canada
• Pacific Wren (Alaskan islands) Troglodytes pacificus [alascensis Group]
• Pacific Wren (Western) Troglodytes pacificus [pacificus Group]
• Winter Wren Troglodytes hiemalis – Eastern US
• Pacific/Winter Wren Troglodytes pacificus/hiemalis
In addition to the wrens, most birders will now have two Whip-poor-will's on their life lists: the Eastern Whip-poor-will occurring across much of the eastern US (see map); and the Mexican Whip-poor-will of the Southwest (see map).
As we move forward, we look forward to bring the eBird taxonomy into alignment with the most authoritative research conducted on birds around the world. Your input is always welcome!
Latest posts by Brian Sullivan (see all)
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- eBird is a large component of this year’s ‘State of the Birds’ report - May 18, 2011 3:00
- New eBird data entry tools nearly here: we need your help! - March 31, 2011 9:18
- Go global with the new eBird taxonomy - February 3, 2011 5:57