eBird data are made available to birders, researchers, conservationists, and educators around the world. All eBird data that are publicly available have gone through the eBird Review Process.


The appropriate use for specific data products falls into three categories: 

  1. Observation data
  2. eBird.org products
  3. Photos, sounds and videos

Use of all of these is subject to the Terms of Use for eBird and the Cornell Lab, in addition to any specific limitations listed below.


1. Checklist and observation data  

Your eBird data

To download just your own checklist and observation data, go to https://ebird.org/downloadMyData (available on the side of My eBird).


All eBird data

All eBird data are downloadable for free at https://ebird.org/data/download. You must submit a data request to document who has access to eBird data and for what purpose it is being used—allowing us to understand the ways eBird Data are used for research so that we can improve eBird's services over time. 


Before eBird data are downloaded, you must agree to specific terms of use which outline additional requirements everyone who uses eBird data must follow. Below is a summary of the terms for public data download.

  • All data are free to use for any non-commercial purposes related to basic and applied research and education.
  • If you download the data for an intended purpose, you cannot use the data for another purpose. In other words, you should re-download the data citing the new purpose.
  • If you download the data, you cannot pass on the data to another user. That user should themselves directly download the data from eBird.
  • After downloading, you cannot redistribute eBird data in any form.
  • eBird data wherever used, should be appropriately cited.
  • If you use eBird data to create derived products, an electronic copy of the product should be submitted to eBird.
  • Any use of the data for a commercial purpose requires you to obtain an explicit permission from eBird (see below)


Other eBird data sources

eBird data are periodically uploaded to the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), the official repository of data under the Convention on Biological Diversity. eBird data make up more than 1/3 of GBIF.


eBird also has a list of Sensitive Species for which data access requires an additional layer of verification of appropriate use; the process to request these data is available on the data download page. More info on eBird Sensitive Species.


Commercial use of eBird Data

Commercial use of eBird data almost always revolves around use of data for environmental impact assessments, inventories, or other work being done by environmental professionals.


The few other commercial uses of the public eBird data revolve around ‘value-added’ displays of the entirely open-access eBird dataset—services that we currently don’t provide in core eBird, but know that the community would like to have. We review all applications for use of eBird data. In any commercial third-party application, developers are not charging for the use of the data (which is always free), but for a value-added display of data (e.g., Birdseye). We feel fortunate to be able to provide the entire eBird enterprise entirely free of charge due to millions of dollars annually from grants, sponsors, and donations—and we acknowledge the need of some third-party developers to charge a nominal fee to defray their costs where appropriate.


Public API

eBird also provides a public API, which allows live access to data for web and mobile applications that may build useful functionalities for general users. The Terms of Use for the API can be found here. It’s important to note that while the data are always open, eBird can terminate any users from using the API in case they resort to abuse or create adverse impacts on eBird servers. This is similar to the terms and conditions of other web-based APIs.


2. eBird.org visuals 

Data visualizations on eBird.org are also available for use. This may be eBird Status and Trends products, or web visualizations (e.g., maps, bar charts). These are all usable as long as citation guidelines are followed: https://ebird.org/science/citation. For photos, audio recordings, and/or video associated with eBird checklists, please see below.


3. Photos, sounds and videos

Photos, sounds, and videos added to your eBird checklists are archived in the Macaulay Library. When you first upload media to an eBird checklist using the Manage Media tool, you will be prompted to accept the license agreement. This is fully explained in the Media Licensing Agreement. Here are the highlights:

  • All media contributors retain full copyright to their material.
  • The Cornell Lab is free to use this media to further its mission – for research, education, and science.
  • The Cornell Lab is free to sublicense the content to a third party for non-commercial use including promotion and research.
  • The Cornell Lab will not sublicense the content to a third party for commercial use without the user’s consent.

The eBird license agreement is related specifically to media uploaded through eBird to the Macaulay Library. It does not apply to material pulled in and archived through traditional means by the Macaulay Library, for which there is a specific agreement between the Macaulay Library and each particular recordist or videographer.