Regular readers of this blog may have noticed a new addition to the left sidebar. A few weeks ago, eBird announced the release of a new tool for receiving rare bird alerts. The device can be customized to display sightings of locally rare birds on one's iGoogle desktop. Unusual sightings entered into eBird are reviewed quickly, so you can tell whether the reports are reliable.
One aspect that was not emphasized in the original release is that a Google Gadget can be added to a website or blog. To do this, find the eBird tool in the gadget database, then follow the directions to get the code. You can change the height, width, and color scheme to match your own site.
Since eBird was developed by Cornell, the website gadget defaults to New York state. If you are a New York bird blogger, or most of your audience is in New York, then there is nothing more to change. Bloggers elsewhere might want a different default state. If you want to change it, look through the code for the statement:
up_state=US-NYThis defines a parameter for the script that the provided code invokes. Change the 'NY' to the postal abbreviation for your own state. When you are done with customization, you can paste the code into your own site.
Note that this only works for U.S. states. A separate gadget is is available for Canadian birders, though it does not display any "notable sightings" at the moment. The original announcement promises that a Canadian version is on the way, so perhaps it is not ready yet.