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Help Find Birds at eBird Hotspots

By Mic McCarty, Field Trip Coordinator and Board Member

What can improve eBird for finding birds? Knowing something about the hotspot where the birds are!

Have you ever followed directions from Google Maps to a preserve, and it leads you to the side of the 3,000-acre preserve with no obvious way in? Wouldn’t it be nice to know the best entrance to drive in, which path to take, and where to find the birds? I love talking to other birders who can provide tips like these, but sometimes you can’t find anyone to help.

Fortunately, there’s a website for that!

Ken Ostermiller and Adam Jackson created an ancillary website to help birders find the best places to go birding at any eBird hotspot. Birding Hotspots collects tips for birding from local birders and combines it with descriptions and maps of eBird hotspots from eBird and other websites. In eBird, hotspots are shared locations where birders report their bird sightings. Hotspots provide birders with information about great birding locations.

Presently, only 27 states are included in the site, and Florida is not one of them. However, the site can be amazingly useful if you visit one of the states included. Florida birders can improve it. Anyone can volunteer to add hotspots and enlarge the database.

I found this site by listening to a podcast called Bird Banter. Bird Banter “where you can listen to podcasts hosted by Dr. Ed Pullen and featuring birders talking about their passion, birding. We will discuss birds, trips, adventures and our lives as birders.” Birding Hotspots is featured in the August 26 podcast.

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