Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Important Bird Areas in eBird

If you visit ebird.org today, you may notice a new article on Important Bird Areas (IBAs) now being a part of eBird's output tools.  Is it really that big a deal?  What does this mean for birding in western Arizona?

Well, if you ever use eBird's output tools to learn about the status and distribution of birds in the area, this is big news!  I often use the bar charts to look at seasonal status of birds.  Formerly, eBird offered the options of data over the entire state, entire county (or counties), or for a specific hotspot (or multiple hotspots).  If I wanted to look at bar charts for the Bill Williams River NWR, I could look at a bar chart for Mohave and La Paz counties, or I could select all the Bill Williams hotspots from a list.  Now, this new IBA feature defines the IBA by a polygon, and incorporates all locations within that area into the output tools.  This means it is now simple to look at bar charts (or other output tools) for IBAs such as the Bill Williams that incorporate all checklists within that area, whether they were entered into hotspots or as personal locations.

Go see for yourself!

Bill Williams River NWR
Cibola NWR
Havasu NWR
Imperial NWR