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Adding Photos, Videos, and Recordings to Checklists from third-party sites

If you want to add images or recordings to your checklists, then you should use the Media Upload tool available in eBird—just drag and drop an image or sound from your computer right into your checklist. It doesn't get any easier than that. We have full details about that process available here

If you don't want to use the Media Upload tool, then please see the below process. Linking images from an external site is a fairly involved and complex process—one of the reasons why we recommend using the Media Upload functionality. In addition, photos and audio added with Media Upload are integrated into the eBird website; appearing in Alerts, 

Images added to eBird 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. When browsing the Species Map, there is also the option on the right sidebar to "Explore Rich Media", which shows you all checklists with photos, videos, or recordings.

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 only 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 (between 500 to 700 pixels wide).

Linking from Flickr

If you use Flickr, a free service for hosting your photos, then displaying them in eBird is quite easy. Note however that the process for this changes slightly with Flickr's annual May updates, always throwing things into disarray:
  1. Go to any of your photos uploaded to Flickr.
  2. At the bottom right side of the image, there is a row of four buttons. The third button is an arrow, highlighted in red below. Click that arrow to open up the Share menu.

     3. The Share menu defaults to "Grab link" for the sharing method. This isn't what you want to use for an eBird checklist – you want HTML embed, as indicated with the red markings below. Click on HTML embed, and see the next step below.

     4. Now that you're in the HTML section of the Share menu, you want to make sure the sizing is right (always choose Medium, with a maximum width of 640), and then copy the text below the sizing option. You can see below the correct sizing option circled in red, and the text below that (beginning with <a data-flickr-embed) to copy and paste into your eBird checklist. Highlight and copy the text, and then see the next step. 

    5. Now, go to your checklist, and add the text that you just copied into the Species Comments field. This field is opened by hitting the Add Details button next to any species name. Paste the text, and then hit Save in the lower right corner of the checklist. You're good to go! Photos can be added to a checklist whenever you like, even if you submitted the checklist a long time ago, but want to add images now.

6. Now it is time to revel in how great your eBird checklist looks! Sit back and enjoy your handiwork. Nicely done.

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>

More detailed instructions on how to embed code can be found here.
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 historically 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.


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.
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