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Adding Photos, Videos, and Recordings to Checklists

We are excited to report that it is now possible to embed photos within checklists from photo-sharing sites such as Flickr and Picasa! This not only makes the checklists look more attractive, but also makes it easier for reviewers to review and confirm your rare sightings. These images are viewable in eBird checklists (accessed via My eBird and point maps) and in eBird Alerts online, and are accessible to eBird reviewers, making their job much easier. 

Guidelines for Photo Embedding

Although we want the photo embedding to be fun for eBirders and think it is a great way to document your rare finds or share a day's birding with friends, we do want to make a few recommendations for how best to use this functionality.
  1. Although it is possible to paste photo code in both your Checklist Comments (i.e., from the Date and Effort page in Step 2 of data entry) and Species Comments, we would like to ask that code for photos of birds be pasted in the species comments only. This ensures that they will be useful for documentation for that species.
  2. Photos in checklist comments might be of scenery, people and friends, or non-birds seen on your trip. Please use these as you see fit.
  3. Please limit your embedded photos to a few examples per species. We don't currently have a limit to how many photos can be shown, but remember that when the photos are embedded using code from the photo sharing websites they should link back to that site. We recommend providing representative photos that are helpful for documentation; the full suite of photos can be posted to your website.
  4. It is very important that the photos you link to be of the actual individuals observed in the field. While it is not necessary that you have photographed the bird in question (i.e., they could be photos taken by a friend), posting photos of some other individual photographed somewhere else could be very confusing for reviewers, and other viewers, who interpret it as documentation of the bird you saw. Please use this feature to post images of the bird you observed.
  5. The photos look best using medium dimensions. Most websites will give you an option of what size to display the images. We recommend using medium dimensions (about 500 to 700 pixels wide).
  6. It's important to realize that you cannot upload photos directly from your home computer to eBird--at least not yet! For now, a third-party photo sharing site must be used, but there are plenty of great free services for that available online, such as Flickr and Picassa.

Linking from Flickr

If you use Flickr (www.flickr.com), a free service for hosting your photos, then displaying them in eBird is quite easy. Note however that the process for this changed slightly with Flickr's updates in late May 2013 and again in May 2014:
  1. Go to any of your photos uploaded to Flickr and click on the image to get the full view with the full set of options.
  2. On the right side of the photo, under the scrolling bar of thumbnail images, there is a box with an arrow, indicating that it can be shared. Click on this. The small radio button allows you to select "Embed" code or "HTML" code. We recommend using the HTML option. Once you set this, it will be saved as a preference the next time you do this.


     3. Next you need to specify the size. If you do not specify the size, the embedded photos will be very small and make for unattractive checklists, since the default is 75 x 75
         pixels. 
Select "Medium" size for the photos and the second option is best, since about 640 pixels probably looks best.


     4. Then select the text (one click selects it all), copy, and then paste this string of code into the eBird species comments.
     


    5. Once you hit save, your photo should appear. Please note that others will only be able to see your photos if you have them set as "public" in your Flickr settings. Here's the final     
        checklist
with the above photo and a few others.

Other Sites

It is possible to embed pictures from other photo sharing sites that provide HTML in this fashion. Look for this similar functionality and give it a try. If all else fails, or if you have a personal website, you can paste the URL into this bit of code and paste it into your eBird comments. Be sure to replace the instances of "http://imagefileurl/" with the actual URL to the image on your website!

If you also want viewers to be able to click on the image and go directly to the page where your image is stored, use the following:
<a href="imagesiteurl"><img src="http://imagefileurl/"></a>
and replace the instance of "http://imagefileurl/" with the actual URL to the image and change "http://imagesiteurl" to the URL of the site. Perhaps link to the page that shows other images of that species.

Sound and Video

It is possible to embed sound and videos from YouTube, Vimeo, Viddler, SoundCloud, Xeno-Canto, and Macaulay Library using the embed code provided for the videos and sound files from those sites. You can also link to them using HTML code. This will take you directly to the file in an outside site.
<a href="http://soundfileurl">Audio Recording</a>
Here is an example from eBird programmer and Caribbean coordinator Jeff Gerbracht; listen to that nuthatch recording and then compare it to U.S. Brown-headed Nuthatches. The call is so different, they must be different species! View checklist

Listserv Posting

If you post your sightings to your local listserv, this functionality makes it possible to post short notes with highlight birds, provide the links to the checklists, and for people to see the photos from within the lists. Although the "email" functionality within eBird has long been the best way to share eBird posts with a listserv, we would now recommend providing direct checklist links when possible. Just select the URL from your browser and paste it in and people should be able to link to it.

Wrap-Up

We have some processes in place to try to correct for potential cut-and-paste errors and to keep excessively large photos from displaying. In many cases these will be automatically corrected and the photo will show up just fine. In other cases, the photo may not show up, but the checklist should still display normally. Please let us know if photo embedding causes any problems for you.
ebirdhelp@gmail.com
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