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eBird Frequently Asked Questions

General questions

Entering data

Accessing submitted data


Data Privacy

Don't see your question above? 

Click the links below for more information on the following topics:

                                           Great Crested Grebe

Great Crested Grebe by Holger Teichmann/Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab (ML204180821)

General Questions

Can anyone use eBird? 

Yes! eBird is for everyone interested in birds, regardless of location or previous experience. Check out our free eBird Essentials course to get started.  

How do I count birds?

Check out our article: How to count birds. Give your best conservative estimate for all individuals you found by sight and/or sound. For tougher scenarios with large flocks, mixed flocks, and moving flocks, read our resources.

How do I identify this bird?

Use Merlin Bird ID or take one of our Bird Academy identification courses! The eBird Explore page also has useful tools for bird identification. You can Explore Species, or try the Illustrated Checklist tab under "Explore Region." For North American species, All About Birds also provides a useful online guide to birds.

Entering Data

How do I submit checklists in eBird?

eBird Mobile is the fastest way to keep checklists in the field; you can also submit checklists on the eBird website. For a step-by-step guide to submitting your bird observations to eBird, take our free eBird Essentials course.

What birds should NOT be reported on my checklist?

eBird is intended for observations of wild, living birds. Please do not report dead or captive birds (e.g., do not include birds in a zoo exhibit or pheasants on a farm). For more information, see our eBird Rules and Best Practices.

You may report any unrestrained bird you observe in the wild. However, please indicate suspected domestic or escaped birds whenever possible. Species designated "Escapee" will not count towards your personal species totals. Domestic, exotic, and escaped birds may also be marked "Rare" so they do not get confused for naturally occurring species in our public database. Learn more about Exotic and Introduced Species in eBird.

How do I add a bird not on the checklist? 

On eBird Mobile, type the name into the search bar and press “Can't find your bird?”> Search All Species. On the eBird website, use the “+ Add Species” button and type in the name.

If you can’t find the species, try searching for the scientific name, or check your Common Name Display Language to ensure your bird names are displayed in your preferred language.

Can I enter data for other people or groups?

Please do not create or upload checklists from separate birding parties to the same account. Instead, set up one account for each birder, and share checklists between them.

Learn how keep a group birding account here. If you are entering someone else's historical birding notes, you can also set up an Historical eBird account.

Can I count the same bird twice?

Yes! This is part of what eBird is all about. Any time that you start a new checklist, include all birds that you see or hear for a complete checklist, even if you recorded the same birds earlier on a different checklist.

However, do not include counts of an individual bird twice within the same checklist. For example, if you see a bird at your feeder, and it flies away and comes back, do not count it twice if you're still entering the same checklist.

What do "slash" and “sp.” mean?

These are entry options for birds that couldn't be identified to species. We encourage eBirders to use them as needed; they help us know about unidentified birds that were present versus birds that weren't present. See the eBird Taxonomy article for more info.

What checklists are eligible for the eBirder of the Month challenges? 

In addition to the specific criteria for each monthly challenge, checklists must: 

    1) be complete checklists with all species reported

    2) include counts for all species (no X's)

to be eligible for monthly challenges.

Checklists shared with you and checklists you share with others count. Just make sure you submit your checklists before the end of the month to enter that month's contest!

How do I contribute to an eBird Portal or Bird Atlas?

eBird Portals provide regionally-relevant homepages and data entry functionality for projects coordinated by the eBird Partner Network, including Breeding Bird Atlases. All checklists submitted to Bird Atlases or within regions coordinated by the eBird Regional Partner Network will display a regional banner above the checklist details.

eBird checklists submitted to Bird Atlases are indicated with a portal icon in My Checklists. Click the icon to see which Atlas the checklist belongs to. 

Add/Remove a list from a Bird Atlas on the eBird website: Find and select the checklist you want to edit in My Checklists. Then, go to "Checklist Tools" and select "Change Portal". Use the drop-down menu to change the atlas designation. To remove a checklist from a Bird Atlas, select "eBird" from the drop-down list.

If you don't see a Bird Atlas listed in the dropdown, your checklist may already be part of that project—check the banner in the upper left corner of the page.

Select an Atlas or Portal on eBird Mobile: You can set your default data entry portal for eBird Mobile checklists. Open the app, go to "Settings" (Android) or "Settings and Account" (iOS), and choose a project from the drop-down under Portal.

Select default Portal in eBird Mobile

Accessing submitted data

How do I edit my checklists in eBird? 

Click here for full step-by-step instructions: Editing eBird checklists

On eBird Mobile: tap on "My Checklists," select the “Submitted” tab, tap the checklist you want to edit, then press “Edit” in the bottom right corner.

On the go to Manage My Checklists and open the checklist, then click the blue "Checklist Tools" button. You can choose to edit the location, date and effort, or the species list from the dropdown menu.

However you edit your lists, make sure to save your changes when finished!

How do I delete a checklist?

Submitted checklists can only be deleted from the eBird website:

1. Log in to and tap My eBird > 'Manage My Checklists'.

2. Select the checklist you wish to delete. 

3. Tap the blue Checklist Tools button and select 'Delete' from the bottom of the dropdown.

Deleting a shared checklist from your eBird account will NOT delete the checklist from other people's accounts. 

WARNING: Deleting a checklist is permanent and cannot be undone. Use extreme caution!

Delete submitted checklists from the eBird app: 

1. Tap 'Checklists' and select the 'Submitted' tab.
2. Select the checklist you wish to delete.
3. Tap "" at the bottom of the screen.

Then, follow the directions to delete a checklist from the eBird website, above. If the Checklist Tools button does not appear, you may not be logged in. Look for the blue "Sign In" button in the upper right corner of the page and log in with the same account you use for the eBird app.

Delete Not Submitted checklists from the eBird app: Swipe left along the checklist you would like to delete, and press the red "delete" button and/or trash can icon that appears. 

Can I edit/delete a shared checklist? 

Sharing a checklist creates an independent copy in each person's account, so you can edit or delete your version of a shared checklist without impacting someone else's version. Just make sure they have Accepted shared list into their account before you make changes. Learn more about editing and sharing checklists in eBird.

Where did my data go? 

Can't find a checklist you submitted? Log in to, click My eBird, then "Manage My Checklists." Every checklist you've submitted to eBird can be accessed from the Manage My Checklists page. 

If you don't see a checklist on that page, you may have multiple accounts in eBird. Click here for information on how to identify and consolidate multiple eBird accounts

Why isn't my observation showing up?

First, log in to, go to My eBird, and click "Manage My Checklists" to make sure the checklist was successfully submitted.

Next, go to the eBird Species Map and enter the name of the species that isn't appearing as expected. Zoom in to the area where you reported that species. If your observation appears on the species map, it was successfully incorporated into the eBird public database - there's nothing else you need to do! 

If your sighting was flagged as Rare when you submitted it, it needs to be confirmed by a local volunteer reviewer before it will appear publicly (read more about data quality in eBird). You can facilitate this review process by documenting flagged sightings according to our How to Document Your Sightings page.

Why isn’t my photo or recording showing up? 

Media uploaded for flagged observations also won't show up publicly until a volunteer reviewer confirms the observations. To view these media: open the Macaulay Library search page, enter your name under "Contributor", and click “Show Unconfirmed” under "More Filters". If your media is on a checklist that has been marked Not Public, it will not show up unless the checklist is fixed and marked public again. See here for more info.

Why can't I see my report on a Hotspot or Regional page?

If you used a Hotspot, make sure your checklist was submitted using that Hotspot as the location. Open your checklist on and look at the location (under the date at the top of the page). If you selected a Hotspot, the checklist location will be a blue link taking you to the Hotspot page. If your location name is unlinked black text, it has been submitted to a personal location. You can either edit the checklist location or merge your personal location with a nearby Hotspot.

Hotspot and Regional Bird Lists sorted by Last Observed will only show the most recent report of a species. If you can't see your observation on a Hotspot or Region page, it's likely because someone reported that species after you did, and their observation appears instead.

Why didn't my observation appear on Alerts?

Visit "Why wasn't my observation included on Alerts?" on our Alerts FAQs.


How do I use/choose locations in eBird?

Pick a location that represents where you went birding, whether it’s a hotspot or a personal location. Check out our article on how to select locations in eBird.

What is a Hotspot and how do I make or use one?

Hotspots are public birding locations suggested by eBird users. Learn all about Hotpots here, including when to use them and how to suggest new Hotspots.

How do I move, rename, or merge existing locations?

You can make changes to existing checklist locations on the Manage My Locations page. For step-by-step instructions on how to edit your personal locations, see our Managing Personal Locations help page.

How do I set my default location for eBird pages?

Default region for eBird Profile and My eBird: Log in to > My eBird > tap your name or profile image OR go to Tap 'Edit Profile' then enter a region (county, state/province, or country).

To edit the location displayed below your profile name: edit your Cornell Lab Account settings (tap the person icon in the upper right corner of any eBird page).

Default region for the eBird homepage: visit your eBird Preferences to set your default homepage Region Preference.

Data Privacy

How does eBird use my data?

eBird revolves around making bird observations accessible to scientists, conservationists, and other birders. eBird accounts must associated with a valid email address in order to notify you of account activity and as part of our data quality process.

We will never use or share your information for commercial purposes. Your contact information is only available to the team at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and our volunteer regional reviewers as part of the the eBird review process.

eBird Mobile GPS tracks are not public and are not shared with external parties. Only the owner(s) of a checklist and researchers working on eBird Science products can see an eBird mobile GPS track.

Learn more about Data Privacy in eBird, read our Terms of eBird Data Use and our Privacy Policy.

How do I adjust my privacy settings?

Since your data are displayed on maps, Alerts, and Recent Visits in real time, we provide options to customize your privacy settings at My eBird Preferences. Access your account preferences by logging in to, clicking your username in the upper right corner, and selecting "Preferences."

How do I hide my name in eBird?

For eBird data quality and official correspondence, we strongly encourage you to use your real name in eBird. However, if you do not wish for your name to appear on public eBird output (e.g., point maps, explore pages, high counts), you can set your name to appear as "Anonymous eBirder" by adjusting the Public name display section of My eBird Preferences.

What if I don't want a checklist to show publicly? 

You may wish to do this if you are submitting a list-building checklist, or if there is a potentially sensitive record on private property. Please remember to "un-hide" your record later when any risk to the sensitive species has passed (more info on reporting sensitive records).

To hide an entire checklist: Open a checklist, click the blue "Checklist Tools" button, and select "Hide from eBird output."

Hide checklist from eBird output

Hiding an eBird checklist means it can no longer be used for scientific analysis. We always recommend "un-hiding" your checklist at a later date so your valuable bird observations can be used for science and conservation.

Important! Hiding a checklist will remove its information from all eBird output tools (e.g., Alerts, maps, bar charts etc.) However, it does not comprehensively hide the fact that you went birding altogether. Observations on a hidden checklist may appear—with the date—as the "Most recent addition" in the Top100, but the location and other checklist details will remain private. To keep this information fully secret, delay your submission until a more recent species will take precedence here.

To edit a hidden checklist: first un-hide the checklist (under "Checklist Tools"), make changes to the species list or checklist info, then re-hide the checklist afterwards if desired.

How do I report birds from my home without telling people where I live?

First, you can rename the location so your address is not visible. You can also place or move the location pin to somewhere close by along your street—such as the nearest intersection—and use the street name for the location name.


Scarlet-chested Sunbird

Scarlet-chested Sunbird by Santiago Caballero Carrera/Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab (ML183677411)