[Tweeters] ebird policy

Kevin Purcell kevinpurcell at pobox.com
Sun Mar 1 11:39:17 PST 2015

On Mar 1, 2015, at 11:16 AM, vrhoden wrote:

> Earlier this week I submitted a list that I gleaned from a walk on the waterfront trail in Vancouver along the Columbia River. I stumbled upon an unusually large group of Barrow’s Goldeneyes. They were in a mixed flock along with Common Goldeneyes and Mergansers.

> I entered 30 something for the quantity of Barrow’s and the page flagged it as unusually high. I completely agree that it was high, in fact there were more of these guys in front of me that I have ever seen collectively in my life. They were down on the beach in front of the Water Resources Education Center.

> I submitted a comment along with a couple of photos. The photos did not document the total count of the birds but it showed enough to at least let them know there were several present and that I know the difference between a Barrow’s and a Common.

> The submission has not shown up in my list. At this point I am wondering how questionable entries are handled. Would I receive further communication or would the entire list be dropped with no further ado if it is deemed questionable? At this point I am starting to question whether I forgot to click the final submission button or if it’s just be administratively dismissed.

> Not trying to start a was-to-was-not debate, just trying to understand the process.

The answer is in this eBird article


Keep in mind:

> Reviewing records takes time. We have 500+ volunteer reviewers who devote many hours of personal time to this cause.

> Records awaiting a decision are not shown on maps and graphs. There is a difference between "not accepted" and "awaiting review", but neither are shown on maps and graphs.

> Documenting rarities is up to you. The best way to ensure acceptance of a rarity that you observe is to provide unequivocal proof. An embedded photo is ideal, but links to photos or a description of the key field marks is also enough in many cases. Adding details to your noteworthy records is key for expedient review

So it may just take time for someone to look at it and say (perhaps looking at your other reports) that "yes, this is a real report".

eBirds goal is to have reliable data to be used for research purposes as well as being a fun site to track and share birding data so they do make an effort to catch odd reports (even if only to verify that this wasn't a typo for 10 or 3).

As with a "rare bird reports" (or "odd bird reports") the more data you can provide the better though in this case it's difficult to see what you can say other than" they were Barrows and there were 30 of them. Perhaps you might want to extend your comment to show that you saw Barrow's and this was a lifetime high flock for this bird for you. Experience with other species (Common Goldeneye) and why you're sure they're Barrow's might help. This is the usual "rare bird report" drill but it can be a shock first time you experience it.
Kevin Purcell (Capitol Hill, Seattle, WA)
kevinpurcell at pobox.com | @kevinpurcell

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