Choosing a location that accurately represents where you went birding is critically important. Misplaced locations can result in birds being 'seen' in places that could send other birders on wild goose chases, or direct conservationists to prioritize work in places where that bird has never truly occurred. We’ve included some tips below so you can know you chose the right location for your checklist.
Selecting your location on eBird Mobile
eBird Mobile is the fastest, most convenient way to enter your sightings, making location selection a breeze. When you press “Start Checklist,” it will start the checklist from the coordinates where you’re standing with your phone. You can then select your location during the checklist or from the Submit page when you’ve finished that checklist. There are three location selection options on eBird Mobile: Recent, Nearby, and Map.
Recent Location has your last 50 locations that you've used on eBird Mobile; you can choose from these locations without the need for an internet connection. As you use locations within the app, this list will automatically populate.
Nearby Location uses the phone’s GPS to show a list of all the nearby eBird locations using a data connection: both nearby public hotspots and your personal locations.
Map Location uses the phone’s GPS to show a map of all nearby eBird locations using a data connection: both nearby public hotspots and your personal locations. You can use the new personal location from when you started the checklist, choose a new personal location by by pressing the map, or choose a hotspot or existing personal location by tapping the icon for it. If you create a new location, consider choosing a location name that reflects the location if it’d be more meaningful than the automatic name.
Selecting your location on the eBird website
There are four location selection options on the eBird website: Choose from Your Locations, Find it on a map, Use Latitude/Longitude, and Select an entire city, county, state, or county.
Choose from Your Locations provides a searchable list of every location where you’ve submitted a checklist in eBird. This is the fastest method for entering checklists from prior locations.
Find it on a map is the fastest method overall, and especially so for entering a checklist from a new location. Just type in the region where you went birding and then use the plus icon or the search bar to zoom in to select a personal location or hotspot from a map view. Hotspots will appear as red icons and personal locations as blue ones. You can also suggest new personal locations as hotspots from this display.
Use Latitude/Longitude is a quick method if you already have the GPS coordinates for where you went birding.
As a last resort, use Select an entire city, county, state, or country for records that lack precise location information or if you’re entering a baseline life list in eBird. Checklists at the county, state, or country level will not appear in eBird’s public outputs. We strongly recommend not using this unless there is no other option.
Using (and not using) eBird hotspots
Whether on the app or the website, it’s always important to choose a location that accurately represents where you went birding. eBird hotspots are designated shared locations marked as birding destinations by your fellow eBirders. If your birding fits with a hotspot’s area, we recommend using it. However, some areas may have many hotspots, so choose the most specific location that accurately describes your birding.
For example, if you birded throughout Central Park, then choose the hotspot for Central Park. If you only birded right around Strawberry Field, select that specific hotspot. When birding away from hotspots, use a personal location. You can give personal locations a name that’s meaningful to you, especially if you bird it regularly, like your home.
Manage My Locations
Found on My eBird, Manage My Locations helps keep your locations organized by letting you rename, move, or merge any of your personal locations in eBird. Any changes in Manage My Locations will apply to all of your checklists submitted from that location.
The three main things you can do are Rename, Move, and Merge locations. Merging a location will permanently combine all of the checklists from one location with another. This is helpful for if you have redundant personal locations, or if you want to merge a personal location with a hotspot. Note: there's no way to undo a merge, so be careful! Some locations are marked as 'Shared' locations: these are hotspots or personal locations created by someone else. You can't move or merge these; only rename them.
You can also use Manage My Locations to suggest existing personal locations as eBird Hotspots! Click the tab in the top right of the display to switch to "Suggest as Hotspots," click the box for the location(s) you want to suggest, and click Submit. A local volunteer hotspot editor will review the suggestion from there to see if the site is appropriate as a hotspot. A location doesn't have to be "hot" to merit being a hotspot-- if you went birding at a public location that is yet not a hotspot, we encourage you to suggest it!