Media tags help make the Macaulay Library collection more useful, allowing users to filter photos, audio, and video by specific categories. Tags also include important metadata that add value to a media specimen. They can be added to your media in the Manage Media tool.

For more information on how and what to upload, visit our pages on uploading media; upload guidelines for photos, audio recordings, and video; and rating media.

Quick Links




Additional Species


Photo/video tags


Photo + Sound Quiz tags

Tips for adding tags in Manage Media

  • Use the View icons in the top left to filter down to all media, only photos, or only audio.
  • To select a range of media, Click, then Shift + Click the asset at the end of the range.
  • To select/deselect individual media, use Ctrl or Command + Click.
  • To select all media, use Ctrl or Command + A.


Age/sex detailsUse the Age/Sex grid to enter counts for the age and sex of all individuals visible or audible in the selected media. Accurately assessing the age and sex of birds is often hard, so if you are unsure, be conservative and use the “Unknown” fields. If you’re unsure of the number of individuals, use “X” or “+” to indicate presence.

Sounds (audio recordings and videos only)

Tag any applicable sound types audible in the selected recording. Only apply tags when you know the type of sound being made. Err on the side of caution, or check the Listen option on Explore Species to compare sound types.

  • Song: Vocalization used for territorial advertisement or mate attraction. Typically but not always more complex than call. Applies to more than just songbirds.
  • Flight Song: Specific song type given in flight, often more complex and rapid than typical song. Not necessarily any song given in flight. If unsure, use only Song.
  • Non-vocal: Audible sounds not made vocally. Examples include non-vocal advertising sounds like drumming of a woodpecker or wing snaps from a manakin, plus incidental sounds like wing noise or foraging sounds.
  • Duet: Two or more birds singing collaboratively, usually a pair or family group. Counter-singing territorial birds or vocal flocks of birds should not receive this tag. If unsure, use only Song.
  • Call: Any vocalization that doesn’t qualify as song. Often but not always less complex than song. May include contact calls, alarm calls, and other vocalizations given in various contexts.
  • Flight Call: Specific call type, most often given in flight. Not necessarily any call given in flight. Should be used with all nocturnal flight calls. If unsure, use only Call.
  • Dawn Song: Specific song type, usually given at dawn or dusk. Not necessarily any song given at dawn. If unsure, use only Song.

Sound tags

Playback (audio recordings and videos only)

Playback dropdownIf playback was used before or during the recording to influence the subject(s), select “Used.” If no playback was used, select “Not Used.” Playback includes vocal imitations. The use of mobbing tapes, pishing, or any other activity designed to draw out a vocalization from a bird should be listed as “Not Used” but noted in the comments.

Additional Species

Additional speciesAdd additional or background species present in the selected media using this field. Note that an additional species can only be selected if it is also reported on the checklist to which you’re uploading media.


Tag any applicable behavior(s) displayed by the primary species in the selected media. You may select more than one behavior.Behavior tags

  • Foraging or Eating: any bird actively seeking, catching, or eating food items.
  • Vocalizing (photos and videos only): any bird that is actively calling or singing.
  • Carrying Food: any bird carrying food in its bill or talons.
  • Nest Building: any bird actively carrying nesting material or building a nest.
  • Flying: any bird that is flying, including taking off and landing.
  • Feeding Young: when a bird is actively providing food to a nestling or fledgling.
  • Molting (photos and videos only): any bird showing signs of active molt, such as dropped feathers or molt limits.
  • Courtship, Display, or Copulation: any bird engaging in courtship or copulation behavior.

Tags (photos and videos only)

Tag any applicable characteristics shown in the selected photo or video.

  • Habitat: any photo where the habitat where the bird was found is highlighted or featured prominently, usually meaning that the bird is fairly small in the frame and its surroundings are more prominent. It is not required that a bird is visible in the photo, but it should be the habitat where the bird was seen. Images with sticks, leaves, etc. present but that are otherwise fairly closely focused on the bird itself should not receive this tag.
  • Egg(s): any photo that includes a clearly visible egg or eggs.
  • Nest: any photo with a clearly visible nest (bird can be present or absent from the nest).
  • Field notes/sketch (photos only): any photo of a sketch, field notes, or other supporting documentation. (If field notes do not include sketches, consider transcribing them into the observation details instead of uploading them as an image.)
  • In-hand: any photo or video of a live bird in the hand.

Additional image tags

Equipment (audio recordings and videos only)

Equipment data fieldsFor audio recordings, enter the information for the type of recorder and microphone used to make the selected recording, along with any accessories like a parabola. For video, enter the camera, any external microphone used, and the lens or other accessories, if they are separate from the camera. You can enter your equipment once for each checklist and click the “Apply equipment to all recordings on this checklist.” Secondary equipment like shock mounts, windscreens, recording apps, tripods, or lens filters do not need to be listed here.

Additional tags available only through the Photo + Sound Quiz

Quiz tagsThe following tags are only available to apply when taking the Photo + Sound Quiz.

  • Multiple species: Any photo with more than one species of bird visible. Rate based on the focal species.
  • Watermark: Any photo with a watermark of any kind, including signatures or any other text on the image. Note: Please do not add watermarks or text of any kind on uploaded images.
  • Back of camera: Any photo or screenshot of the back of a camera, phone, or computer screen. Any representation of a photo that is not the actual photo should receive this tag. Often uploaded as temporary documentation for rare sightings, these should always be replaced with the actual image eventually.
  • Dead: Any photo where the primary subject is dead. This can include specimen photos uploaded with historical data or dead birds found in the wild. Do not tag predators with prey if uploaded as the predator species. Note: dead birds are generally not appropriate for eBird, so media of dead birds should usually not be uploaded.
  • No bird: Any image without a visible bird. For example, a photo of habitat, a nest, eggs, or any other image that does not show the bird.