Brian Sullivan usually writes about eBird here at the ABA blog, but since he's probably taking some time to recover from an epic 24 hour run at the ABA area Big Day record in Texas this week (you can follow their day on their twitter feed, as of the time I'm writing this they're still birding but by the time it publishes they'll be finished), I thought I'd mention a couple interesting eBird related news items in his stead.
First, if you're not reading the news items regularly posted on eBird's front page, you're missing out. Most recently was a gem on using migration timing derived from eBird line graphs as a means to help narrow down prospective confusion species. This is especially useful for flycatchers, a group of birds famous for causing countless headaches among birders in spring and fall. Using the graphs – such as the one below – birders can get a much better idea as to when specific species are likely to be passing through in numbers. It's one more tool that can make this difficult family a little more manageable.
Really useful stuff. Put it to use for you this spring.
Second (via the Feather and the Flower), a young Michigan birder named Zachary DeBruine has created a trio of useful eBird google gadgets to help you find the birds you want locally. They can be further personalized by including desired species so that you'll get a notification when a certain bird is reported in your area in eBird.
Recent Sightings: Gets all eBird observations submitted within a defined radius of a designated latitude-longitude coordinate pair over a set time frame.
Needs Gadget: Similar to Recent Nearby Observations only you can enter any number of species that you do not want to appear on the gadget.
Wants Gadget: This is different than the Needs gadget, because you specify species that you only want to appear on your gadget. This gadget is easier to use than the Needs gadget if you know what needs you are looking for in your region.
The three gadgets can be found here, from which point you can embed them in a website or include them on your iGoogle homepage.
EBird just keeps getting more and more useful for birders around the world. Hopefully this increased functionality will have the added benefit of motivating those who have been on the fence to begin including their sightings. Especially if you're seeing birds local birders will want to see too.