eBird Reviewer Bias

Good morning.

I had a meeting with a handful of individuals, some are local wildlife guides, who provide reviewing service to eBird.

I’m in a part of the world with extreme corruption, but regardless of the transgression, many folks here have a very difficult time accepting criticism if it is remotely directed towards them or their livelihood.

I don’t know if its a coincidence, but we had a discussion after one of my partners and her service animal were attacked by a foreign property owner’s dog, about 5 meters away from about 20 sea turtle nests… I asked the local wildlife guides, how could they be protecting turtles when someone cant walk their dog on the beach without being attacked by a criminal’s (likely!) dog.

They had no words, no response, just poor attitudes and an inability to listen to reason.

now coincidentally even with a photo, I cannot get a positive confirmation on rare species I am spending hours in the field documenting, even with photos.

but the guides submit a list and it is instantly approved, some of them dont bother to carry binocs let alone even own a camera with a zoom lens.

Do I just accept the fact that my data will probably just be disregarded because the local reviewers are possibly highly corrupt and also possibly not the “experts” I had thought them to be prior to our last project?

This isn’t the first time I have had issues like this working with state employees in Ecuador, but this is the last time I will tolerate this nonsense without bringing it to the attention of all possible authorities and administration.

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I don’t know too much about eBird, but you should probably bring your concerns and associated body of evidence to the attention of their staff/admins.


I’m in Ecuador as a consultant and independent researcher, no one cares if we live or if we die here, let of our knowledge or expertise.

I was mostly asking if anyone had experienced something related, as many folks in the iNaturalist community, like myself, utilize both platforms, and eBird lacks a community discussion portal.

While it’s not as robust as iNat’s community discussion portal here, there is the eBird community discussion group. Though before posting there, I would ensure your post 1) illustrates a problem beyond the scope of just one isolated situation / location, 2) that you have meaningful and feasible calls-to-action / suggested solutions, and 3) that your post reads more like a case study of the issue and less like a rant.

[Edit: I want to make it clear that my intent is not to express doubt in or to belittle your frustrating experience. I’m merely suggesting you consider how to constructively word your post so that you hopefully get an equally constructive response.]

I have had nothing but positive experiences with the reviewers on ebird, though the majority of my birding has occurred within the United States. Despite being friends with the reviewer for my home county, he still rightly questions any flagged records where I neglected to add sufficient detail / documentation.


If you’re right in your suspicions imo those are still different problems, first is indifference and lazyness, seen around the world, but more when people aren’t paid enough to do their job or chosen randomly to do that when there’re people who’d do it better. And second is problem of respect and belief, someone with “credentials” can get away with trust of a word when a different person has to fight for their id. I’m not sure why would anyone on eBird be corrupt, that’s just the eBird, not a thing you could get real money with, I’d think there’re just not enough reviewers and some just probably know those users and believe their ids.

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The issue is like a litany of things, all of which you have addressed.

I think my main issue and concern is having potentially inflated figures for species in this region due to the high numbers reported and also confirmed by less than 5 individuals regularly.

Please do bring this up with eBird. Here’s their ticket submission page: https://support.ebird.org/en/support/tickets/new

Since this is out of the scope of the iNat Forum, I’ve set this topic to close in four hours.


I’ve met several eBird reviewers who I’d simply refer to as “unfortunate” for one way or another. However, eBird reviewers do not have immunity and as Tony says, you can file a ticket or support if a specific reviewer is being unfair or acting in poor fashion.

Honestly, this isn’t just in corrupt or “third world” countries. I have been known to have the same feelings, and for the same reasons – when a job was hard to get, and you need one to survive, you’ll be as defensive of it as a feral dog is defensive of a bone. Try debating that feral dog about whether or not it has a “right” to that bone…

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