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Getting Your Computer, Smartphone or Tablet Ready for Migration!

Ok, you have a field guide and binoculars and you are ready to see birds, but can’t find any! Getting on particular list-serves and websites can really enhance your birding experience and help you locate birds. You’ll know when birds are coming and where they are being seen. You’ll do that by just checking your computer, tablet or smartphone.

First, bookmark the site http://birdcast.info and check it regularly. This site uses radar to show how the migration is progressing. This site, run by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology will help you know, with some certainty, if tomorrow, or the next day, will be a great birding day. On this site, they can predict, with some accuracy, where the birds are going to show. It is a free site and there’s no membership required. It is only active during spring and fall migration.

Next, you need to sign up for the New York State Bird list-serve. This is run by Cornell University and is also free. When fellow birders see an interesting birds, they post their list immediately and it turns up on every subscribers email. So, when you see that rare bird, you can post it to let everyone know where you saw it. Conversely, when others post their list, you get to read and know where birds are being see all over New York State. To subscribe, link below and follow the simple directions. You can quit anytime if the sightings begin to clog your email or you can ask that the emails be sent each evening in a concise, digest format.


If you don’t want the up to the minute sightings or the digest, you can just go here to see what’s being seen, http://birding.aba.org/maillist/NY01

Another more casual, free and more local list-serve is called ebirdsnyc. This group only lists birds in the NYC- Metropolitan area, as opposed to all of NYS. You’ll need to join Yahoo Groups and then join ebirdsnyc, which is a Yahoo group. http://groups.yahoo.com/search?query=ebirdsnyc

Both NYS Birds and ebirdsnyc have rules about proper etiquette. Posting photos, using bad language, discussing politics or non-birding issues are not permitted. On both list-serves, it’s best to read other’s posts for a while before posting yourself. That way you’ll understand the culture of each site. For instance, most people will not be interested if you post that you saw three Chickadees and a Robin, but will thank you for that rare sighting or the location where you saw 53 species. By the way, owl locations are never posted. If you plan on birding while you travel, there are list-serves for just about every state.

Finally, there is Cornell University’s www.ebird.org. This is not to be confused with ebirdsnyc. Cornell’s ebird.com is a place where you enter all of your sightings, along with other information like time, date, effort, weather, companions. They will keep the date you submit on their site and it will serve as a birding diary. Your list will be correlated with other lists and the data they collect will be used to study bird populations. For them, this citizen science yields tons of information. For you, it keeps a convenient and complete record of everything you saw. To join go to, http://ebird.org/content/ebird