New Hampshire Audubon Protecting New Hampshire's natural environment for wildlife and for people.

Reporting Your Bird Sightings

Blackburnian Warbler

Your sightings provide the core of the information for New Hampshire Bird Records and also provide important data for many conservation projects. We encourage everyone to submit records of the birds they are seeing. All of us who work at New Hampshire Bird Records, both staff and volunteers, greatly appreciate your cooperation in the recording of sightings and their timely submission. Thanks!

How to Report

Report your sightings on-line with NH eBird — click on the link, set up an account (it's easy), and you're ready to go.

NH eBird provides a version of eBird with a New Hampshire focus, and is the reporting system for New Hampshire Bird Records. Reporting to eBird is all you need to do to make sure your sightings are available for publication in New Hampshire Bird Records and for many other uses. For more on NH eBird, check below and the following links:

TIP: eBird works best with the Mozilla Firefox internet browser. This free program is available to download here.

If you are unable to report via NH eBird, please contact us for the reporting form that New Hampshire Bird Records volunteers can use to enter sightings on your behalf. Contact Becky Suomala via e-mail birdrecords@nhaudubon.org or call 603-224-9909 Ext. 309

We also encourage you to subscribe to New Hampshire Bird Records. By subscribing, you will support not just the publication, but all future research projects and bird conservation in the state.

About eBird

eBird is a free, user-friendly way for birders to record, archive, and share their observations on-line. It's more than just a way to send your sightings to New Hampshire Bird Records, it's also a personal records-keeping system, listing program, and resource for understanding bird distribution. On customized "My eBird" pages users can view their life, state and county lists—all generated automatically.

Setting up an account is quick and easy and once you have one, you can report sightings from anywhere, not just New Hampshire — and eBird wants all sightings, so you no longer need to wonder if what you've seen is "worth reporting."

The eBird system is also different than New Hampshire Bird Records in that it wants some additional information to increase the usefulness of the data over time. It helps to become familiar with the system before you have lots of sightings to enter. Also, it is most helpful to try it out on a few small birding excursions first. Some of the basics are summarized below.

Submitting your sightings to NH eBird

eBird is designed to record what you see at a given location on a given day—somewhat reminiscent of the old fashioned field checklists for each day of birding at a specific place. Although eBird accepts more general locations (i.e., at county or state level), it functions best when locations are plotted specifically. Any sighting submitted will be permanently available via your personal observations list and will automatically be tracked on your state, county, year, month, and life lists—eBird will automatically update your county and state lists for you based on sightings you enter, even if you don't know what county you were in!

The primary means of reporting to eBird is via the web interface, and you will be presented with several options for mapping your location, including selecting from a list of birding Hot Spots and locations you have used before ("My Locations") or plotting a new one on a map. After selecting a location, eBird provides a checklist of likely or possible species to choose from, checks for typographical errors or possible misidentifications, and allows you to enter counts, notes, and comments with your checklist. By requesting effort information (i.e., how many hours you were there or how many miles you walked), it allows us to better understand bird abundance, and by promoting submission of complete checklists (all birds seen or heard), eBird can understand not only what species were found but what species were missed (which gives insight on trends in abundance). These data are then integrated with your personal records and lists and also with the master eBird database. If you already have a records keeping system, eBird provides a variety of tools to help convert your current bird records system to eBird.

Location, location, location

New Hampshire Bird Records editors review the sightings from a given season to look for patterns of occurrence, signs of migration, arrivals and departures, unusual sightings, and other interesting bird reports. They use the data to give them a picture of what happened that season and to choose which records to publish. Please name your locations so that someone else can tell where you were. For example, "my backyard" will not mean much to someone who doesn't know you, but "my backyard, Silk Farm Rd., Concord" will give them a good idea where you saw the bird. Local names can also be improved by adding more details. "Morrill's Farm" will be better as "Morrill's Farm, Merrimack River, Penacook." If your sighting is published, it means that other birders will also have an idea where the bird was seen. This won't be as necessary for well-known locations such as Odiorne Point State Park (already in the list of Hot Spots), the summit of Cannon Mountain, or Hampton Harbor. Our GIS system will add town to each eBird sighting when we download the data, but we haven't yet fully tested that for accuracy, so a good location name will help.

County-level sightings – Although you can enter sightings at the county level, it is not as useful to the editors or other researchers who might be looking at the data. If you have an interesting sighting and report it using just the county, please put information on the town and location in the Notes field. That will help the editors, and if we publish the sighting, we will be able to include that information for other interested birders.

FAQs for Current EBird Users

Do I still need to submit reports separately to New Hampshire Bird Records as well as NH eBird?

No, please enter all your sightings in eBird only. This includes any sightings after July 31, 2009.

Do I have to enter my sightings through the NH eBird portal?

No, you can enter them through any eBird site, but it will be quickest through NH eBird since it's set up for NH species.

Most of my sightings are in eBird but there are a few sightings I didn't enter. Should I send them separately to New Hampshire Bird Records?

No, please enter them into eBird. All sighting data that comes to New Hampshire Bird Records outside of eBird will still need to be entered into eBird by volunteers and we're working on a special form for those submissions. It will be quicker and easier for you, and of great help to the volunteers, if you enter them into eBird yourself.

What to Report

The eBird reporting system encourages you to report everything that you see. This is different than previous reporting guidelines for New Hampshire Bird Records. You no longer need to wonder if what you've seen is "worth reporting." We cannot publish all reports, but each plays a valuable role in creating an overall picture of a given season, and is part of a database that provides information on bird distribution for many research and conservation projects.