Adding Bird Sightings to Your Habitat Map

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Bird sightings are one of the most rewarding features of providing native habitat in your gardens. They are also some of the most important data collected by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. By mapping a site you are providing our citizen science program with invaluable habitat information. Just as important, is letting us know which birds are using that habitat, how they are using it, and when. Adding bird sightings to your habitat map is like getting extra-credit for all your hard work! If you are just starting to develop habitat at your site, monitoring birds can help determine its current state and will give you insight into what is attracting birds, potential habitat traps, and even future improvement projects.


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Adding bird sightings to a habitat map is both easy and fun! To add bird sightings, you must first connect to the database at eBird, another program at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Open the Site Infowindow by clicking your Site icon on the map, then click either “Open”, in the tab that pops up, or select “Report Birds For This Location” or “Set Up Bird Sightings” in the left column.


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When the Site Infowindow opens, click “Birds” in the left column or “Submit Observations” on the right. Both buttons will open the Birds Infowindow.


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From here you can see your most recent bird postings. To add more you will need to log into eBird. As with all of the citizen-science projects hosted at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, you can use the same Username and Password to access eBird. Click the “Submit Observations” button at the top of the Infowindow and follow these steps to add your data.

Add Your Data to eBird!

  1. Create a location. Your habitat map is your Location for eBird. If you have used eBird before, click the appropriate button. From there you can choose your site from a drop-down menu or create a new one by giving your site a nickname and confirming the location.
    New eBird

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    If you are new to eBird, you will be directed to the eBird website where you can sign-in with your Habitat Network Username and Password and provide location information.

  2. Record date and effort. Be sure to read the descriptions in the “More Info” drop-down menus and select the most appropriate level of effort. Enter the date, time, and number of observers then hit “Continue.”
  3. Grab your list and enter the data! For convenience, eBird gives you the most likely birds you may have seen for your area and season but there are options on the right to expand that list. After adding the total number of birds, add details like how many of each gender or age, or whether they are nesting or feeding their young. Hit “Submit”, review your entries, and you are done!

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These data will then be attached and available to view from your map! It may take up to 24-48 hours for your sightings to appear on your habitat map overview. While only the last 30 days worth of sightings will be visible in the Habitat Network, all data associated with your site is recorded in our database permanently.

Keep gardening, mapping and adding to your sightings list to show off the exceptional habitat you create!

Log in with your Cornell Citizen Science Username and Password to leave a comment or ask a question

(This is the same username you use to sign-in to eBird, the Habitat Network, Celebrate Urban Birds, FeederWatch, NestWatch, Maccaulay Library)