Locating Rare Birds Using eBird
It can be interesting and exciting for a birder to know about the locations of rare birds in their area or in an area they will soon be visiting. the terrific website, eBird (link in sidebar at left) has developed a couple of mechanisms, both focused around Google based resources linked up to the eBird database, for locating rare birds and they are today's topic.
First is a Google map based system labeled Jack Siler's eBird Rarity Map on the website home page. Clicking this link takes you to a Google based map with all of the little "pins" that indicate a rare bird sighting in North America. If you see a sighting in an area that interests you, you can mouseover the pin and see the species name. Then you can click on the sighting and get more details (shown in the image above - a Gray tailed Tattler).
A second mechanism for locating rare birds is a "Rare Birds Google Gadget" that you download and install. This software allows the rare bird sightings of your choosing to be downloaded to your Desktop. Pretty cool!
In the old days there were Birding Hotlines to get information on bird sightings, and now with the advent of the Internet and listservs, you can find out about rare bird sightings from all over North America easily and in a very timely manner. We have come a long way in this arena and it is marvelous development for birders!