Should I be Using eBird?

Okay, so I love using Inaturalist, and I log all of my observations on it, but I also have eBird. Now, I don’t really use eBird because I find it to be almost more complicated for user interface than Inaturalist, but I am sure I could learn the ropes eventually. Regardless, my question is, should I be using eBird as well, or should I just stick to Inaturalist? I am just not sure if it is better for the scientific community to use both. Just to clarify, I do love birding, so being a bird only application is not a problem for me.

3 Likes

Both have merit but they have different strengths and weaknesses. If you have the time, do both.

13 Likes

I agree with @pmeisenheimer that it sounds like you have some extra time, so instead of eBird, perhaps start IDing more on iNat. :joy: (I know you do ID, but there are always more observations to ID — birds, of course, perhaps funneling blanks, too:)

I’m sort of joking, sort of serious — but in reality, only you can decide whether or not to use eBird.

6 Likes

I use both. They both have their strong points. iNaturalist has the advantage of community ID for any observations added. eBird has checklists which has the time and distance.

The eBird hotspots are really handy to have when documenting for one specific site, and the barcharts are useful.

I probably use iNat more simply because there is interaction, but I use both a lot.

6 Likes

Use eBird only if are prepared to record every individual bird you encounter over the course of your checklist, or at least provide rough estimates.

3 Likes

I think some of the main advantages of inat are that you have non-birds, and the IDing system and precise locations improve the quality of data. eBird is good for birds that are easy to id but hard to photograph. It’s also useful for people without cameras and it’s quicker to upload your observations.

3 Likes

Another great reason for using eBird is that it doesn’t require any media to observe and you can quickly document species and numbers. You could sort of do that with iNat but based on the interface it doesn’t work so well for certain things.

This is really useful in keeping track of your life list, or if you wanted to go back and figure out a day you saw a large number of a certain species as just a few examples. I’ve found myself digging back into old checklists for one reason or another over the years. It’s citizen science too, so there’s always that bonus. The data you submit to eBird can be used in ways that iNat data cannot (due to what is collected).

I’d recommend sticking with eBird a bit so you can get used to it, and see if it’s something you want to continue using from there. Ultimately, the citizen science aspect is volunteer so do what you enjoy!

6 Likes

eBird data goes to GBIF, so prepare for duplicating. If you want to do it, then do it, if not, why pushing yourself to? eBird requires much more dedication to counting, etc. Unless you do research, you don’t really need to use it.

2 Likes

I use ebird just to report sightings I think may be of interest to birders, like the Barn Owl and vagrant Nordmann’s Greenshank. It takes way too long to submit lists for every bird I see.

1 Like

I use both. eBird is, in my opinion, significantly better for birds than iNat, but it obviously only does birds. I like being able to report checklists without my camera, but eBird also requires at least some level of being able to ID birds on your own for it to work… which is why I didn’t use it for a long time, since I’d take photos of birds and get them IDed on iNat.

5 Likes

It means you have to add the number of birds with each observation?

1 Like

[quote=“natemarchessault, post:7, topic:31802”]
Another great reason for using eBird is that it doesn’t require any media to observe and you can quickly document species and numbers. You could sort of do that with iNat but based on the interface it doesn’t work so well for certain things.[/quote]
True, but for stuff without media I use observation.org. It works also for non-birds, I dunno if eBird supports non-birds.

1 Like

I actually use iNat Casual observations for birds I can’t photograph or record, but only for something like the City Nature Challenge when every species counts (and I’m a little competitive). If someone is mostly a birder, then eBird is best. If the observer is mostly into anything but birds, then iNat is great.

But really, do whichever makes you happy and gets you out looking at the real world.

1 Like

I use the (relatively new) sound ID in eBird which helps satisfy my curiosity but typically don’t document birds in either iNaturalist or eBird. I figure with all the passionate birders out there–it’s mostly covered by others where I live and my equipment isn’t great for capturing birds.

1 Like

“It takes way too long”
That’s why you use the mobile app.

3 Likes

My husband only really uses eBird. I’ve recruited him to iNat but he only uses it sporadically for non-bird observations, and even then only for the computer vision (he wants results immediately).
There’s no way he wants to try to photograph or record every bird he encounters - we don’t have the equipment to do it justice for starters, and it also really slows you down for another. He just wants to keep tally and get a good life list. He also seems to think that it makes more of an impact for bird-specific research (he was reading me an article one year about how they adjust for multiple sightings of the same bird or duplicate records etc) and he’s very committed to it.
I find it hard to do more than one citizen science program, but I also am not confident about my bird identification, so I wouldn’t do ebird unless I was able to improve that. It seems like most serious birders swear by e-bird though, unless that’s just my husband’s community.

2 Likes

eBird definitely has some advantages over iNat in use of the data for scientific research because it is semi-structured. And if you are able to ID quickly, then yes, it will be faster.

So that’s one advantage to using eBird, but as others have noted it’s really about how you define “should” - I would suggest at least giving eBird a good try and seeing if you find it valuable. You’re most likely to persist with something if it feels valuable to you, so if eBird sticks, and you can use it alongside iNat, that’s great. If not, there’s plenty of ways to invest your time and skills in iNat as well.

6 Likes

I use both. I find the course recorded by the eBird app useful to remember where to put the point onto the map in iNat (there I mostly upload observations of insects from the desktop version). Recently, after a long straight route over a meadow, I walked a 30-m jag where I photographed a peculiar grasshopper.

3 Likes

Both are great but are different, as many people have said. I use both, although I only use eBird when I’m specifically “birding” and not just out naturalizing.

2 Likes

I tried eBird once. When I saw how it worked (submitting a list of birds you saw, without the need for photo verification), I wasn’t that impressed. Seems too easy for people to make things up for stuff they actually didn’t see.

I submitted one or two lists over a defined area to see how it worked on the site, along with some photos. That’s been the only time I’ve used it in any significant degree.

I also just don’t feel like spending the time and effort duplicating my bird observations to a different site.

I much prefer using iNat because you don’t have to define the area yourself, and whatever observations you have is verifiable only with photo or sound file. I like that.

2 Likes