Each image has a star rating associated with it, ranging from 1-5. This rating is meant to evaluate the quality of the image; not the quality of the bird in the image. A great photo of a common bird should be 5 stars, and a low-quality image of a rare bird should be one star. We plan to introduce ratings that deal with interesting behaviors, rare birds, and other such details in the future. Stay tuned. At this time the rating is given by the person uploading the file—in the future we plan to move towards community-based rating.
Here are our suggestions for each star rating:
1-star: The lowest-quality of identifiable images possible. Very distant record shots (e.g., mile-distant digiscopes), very grainy, small-in-the-frame, and out of focus images. Barely identifiable.
2-star: Fairly poor images. Not very sharp, poorly lit, and/or much of the bird obscured. Fills a fairly small portion of the frame, but not tiny.
3-star: Mid-quality images. Fairly sharp, decently lit (e.g., dappled lighting, partially backlit), a busy background (e.g., branches), is partially obscured, and doesn’t fill very much of the frame.
4-star: Images that are quite good, but not fully 5-star worthy. This rating will likely span many of the “good” photos. 4-star photos are ones that have a bird that is pretty sharp, but might have mediocre lighting (e.g., sidelit), is partially obscured in a tree, and doesn’t quite fill the frame. It is still a solid photograph, but just not the top quality.
5-star: The best images possible; one with a bird that fills the frame, is sharp and well-lit, has a clean background, and is posed well.