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How do I enter sightings in eBird?

Okay, so you want to put your observations in eBird, but you're not sure how to begin. In that case, you're in the right place, because this article should have everything that you need to know!

Creating an eBird Account

First off, you need an eBird account to submit your sightings. To do this is simple, all you have to do is go to www.ebird.org, and click the "Register as a New User" link at the top of the page, as shown in the image to the right here. Once you do that, you'll be taken to a page where you can create your username, and begin using eBird for the first time! Note: if you have participated in another Cornell Lab project (e.g., Great Backyard Bird Count, Project Feederwatch), you can use the same account for eBird as well.

If you have an iOS or Android device, you can download eBird Mobile, a FREE app that lets you enter sightings on the go.

Enter Your Sightings

The below instructions cover entry online—you can learn about entering sightings via mobile here.

Where did you go birding?

​Now you've made an account, how do you contribute your sightings? All of this is done through the Submit Observations page, which can be accessed from the top of any page in eBird. Once you go to the Submit Observations page, the first question that you'll be asked is "Where did you bird?". If you are birding at a place you've never eBirded before, you want to enter your county, state, province, or country into the Find it on a Map field, indicated with a red arrow in the picture here. You must enter only your county, state, province, or country here – a next step lets you choose a more specific location.

Once you've entered your region in Find it on a Map, you can then choose a more specific location on the next page that appears. More details about the whole location selection process can be found at this article: How do I add a new eBird location?

When and how did you go birding?

After you've finished choosing your location, you are now at the Date and Effort page. This is where you enter what day and time you went birding, how far you traveled/how long you spent birding, and the type of birding that you did (e.g., Stationary, Traveling, Incidental). This page is very important for the scientific uses of eBird – so please be sure to note down correct start times, duration, and distances! If you aren't sure of those values, then please use Historical or Incidental for the Observation Type. You don't have to keep track of all of the extra information beyond what birds you saw, but the more information, the more useful your observations are to other birders, researchers, and conservationists. Check this article our for more information about How To Make Your Checklists More Valuable. It's important that only single-day checklists are entered – if you have a multi-day checklist please use our guidelines for Uploading your Life List. After you hit Continue on the Date and Effort page, then you are finally ready to enter in the birds that you saw!

What birds did you see?

Welcome to the eBird checklist page! Click the image to the right for a larger version. This page is where you enter data into eBird, and is how you can contribute your sightings to a global network of bird information! All of the species that are expected in the region that you're birding at that time of year are visible in a list format. You can enter numbers next for each species that you observe, or just an "X" if you aren't sure how many individuals you saw.

As also shown here, you can enter text notes for each sighting, or whether birds were male, female, adult, juvenile, or were showing signs of breeding behavior. This is done by clicking the Add Details button next to the name of the species. You can also embed images, videos, and sounds in your eBird checklists.

To make entering your sightings as easy as possible, you can use the Jump to Species box (indicated by the red arrow) to quickly jump to any species on the list. You can enter scientific names or common names in this box. Also on the right side of the page is the Group by Most Likely checkbox – when this is selected, the species that have been most-often reported in your area will be at the top of the list. This is a great way to know what to expect in your area, and makes data entry much easier if you've just been seeing regularly expected birds!

Once you've entered your sightings, added all of the details that you want to, and are ready to contribute your data to eBird – it is time to hit the Submit button in the lower right corner of the page! However, before this happens, you need to answer one question: Are you submitting a complete checklist of the birds you were able to identify? If you consciously are leaving out some of your sightings (e.g., 10 House Sparrows), choose No. If you are reporting every species that you saw and identified, to the best of your ability, then choose Yes

That's it! You've submitting your data to eBird, and contributed to a global database of more than 350 million observations that helps to inform birders, researchers, and conservationists across the world. Thank you.

For more information on how to view the information you've submitted, check out our article about My eBird.
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