In This Article

What is an eBird Patch?

What makes a good Patch?

How does a Yard list differ from a Patch?

What birds count for my patch or yard?

How do I create a patch or yard list?

How many patches or yards can I have?

eBird and Five Mile Radius (5MR) Patches

Patch and Yard Privacy

The Patch listing and Yard listing pages provide an easy way to aggregate your observations from the sites that you care about. Once you define your patch or yard, a summary of your birding in that area will appear on top of the page. Click on any of the totals (for life, year, or month) to see all the birds you've reported in your patch for that period. The summary pages will also show how your yard or patch compares to others in your region, and around the world!

Keeping Patch and Yard lists in eBird provides a fun way to share your sightings, start friendly competitions with other local birders, and encourages everyone to do repeated surveys of their local habitats.                                

                                           Rosy-patched Bushshrike

Rosy-patched Bushshrike by Marco Valentini/Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab (ML199392701)                                   

What is an eBird Patch?

An eBird Patch is a series of locations, generally referring to the same area, that can be aggregated and summarized as a single unit. A "patch" can be your local park, neighborhood walk, favorite lake or sewage plant, or refuge wildlife drive - and all your eBird checklists therein.

What makes a good patch?

A patch is meant to be a fairly small area that you bird regularly. Patches should be possible to thoroughly cover in a morning, or a few hours of birding by foot or car. These can include transects of up to 5 mile (8km) long, or areas of up to about five square miles (8 square km).

A patch can consist of a single eBird location or a group of locations. We encourage patches that consist of multiple small locations. If your patch is large, use many precise personal locations for your bird recording, and then aggregate these to form the patch.

Patches should NOT cover: entire counties, multiple widely-separated hotspots, or exceptionally large areas.

How does an eBird Yard list differ from a Patch?

Your eBird Yard list is simply the Patch where you reside. "Yards" should be limited to the property you own or rent. See below about what birds are countable in your yard.

For example: your eBird Yard list might combine the locations of all checklists submitted from your front porch, back yard, driveway, kitchen window, etc.

eBird Yard Lists

What birds count for my patch or yard? 

Feel free to count any bird seen or heard from your yard or patch. Even if the bird is not actually in the patch, as long as you are within the patch when you detect that bird, it counts! Fly-over birds are also fair game.

Birds that you do not personally see or hear (e.g., a friend sees it in your yard, or you record it on a feeder cam) should NOT be counted. 

How do I create a patch or yard list?

  1. From the My Patch Lists or My Yard Lists page, click the "Add a Patch" or "Add a Yard" button.
  2. You will see a list of all locations you have ever submitted an eBird checklist from, as well as the locations of checklists shared with you. Check the boxes next to the locations that comprise your patch or yard.
  3. Give your patch or yard a descriptive name that is meaningful to you
  4. When you are done selecting locations, click "Save Patch" or "Save Yard" to return to the summary page. 

Repeat this process to create as many patches as you like. 

If you create a new checklist location within the patch at a later date, make sure you go back and "Edit" the patch to include the new site!

How many patches or yards can I have? 

You can have as many patch lists and yard lists as you want! For example if you keep a seasonal cottage away from your primary residence, you are encouraged to keep a Yard list for both homes. For patch lists, feel free to create one for your neighborhood walk, workplace, local park, Five Mile Radius circle, and more!

We recommend that you limit your patches to places that you actually visit on a regular basis.

eBird and Five Mile Radius (5MR) Patches

An eBird Patch is a great way to track your Five Mile Radius (5MR) lists. Follow the "Add A Patch" instructions above, selecting all personal locations or hotspots that fall within a 5 mile circular radius of your home or other location. Any time you visit those locations, your checklists will be added to your 5MR summary. It is helpful to give this patch a name that indicates it is a "5MR" patch.

Don't forget to regularly "Edit" your 5MR patch to include any new locations as you add checklists to your 5 mile circle!

Patch and Yard Privacy

eBird Patch and Yard lists are an easy way for eBirders to summarize and compare local lists. However, a few considerations are worth remembering:

  • The most recent eBird checklist submitted from a location in your Patch or Yard list will always be visible to others unless you hide the checklist from public output.
  • Only species on publicly visible checklists from your patch will count towards your Patch Total and Rank. Species on hidden checklists will appear on your patch species list (visible only to you). However, species on hidden checklists will not count towards your patch totals, and will not display in the summary statistics. 

The Patch Listing pages are a way for other eBirders to see what you have been seeing. Keep in mind that they are a bit more public, and may not be appropriate if you regularly bird areas with sensitive species or privacy issues.         

                                           Pectoral-patch Cisticola                                    

Fun Fact: There are only two recognized species with "Patch" in their common name; both are featured on this page!   

Pectoral-patch Cisticola by Ian Davies/Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab (ML33610171)