Monday, February 08, 2010

Reporting Sensitive Species

Today eBird issued some guidelines for submitting sensitive bird sightings to the website. The guidelines were published for bird species (such as owls) that are easily stressed by disturbance, but they could be applied to endangered that need protection or observations on private land that cannot handle an influx of visitors. This is going to be a more common concern as more applications are developed to take advantage of the various data feeds produced from submitted checklists. The guidelines offer four ways to contribute a sighting to the eBird database while protecting the individual birds.

  • Wait to submit the sighting until the end of the season or after the bird has departed the location.
  • Map the bird to the general area rather than the exact coordinates.
  • Wait a week to keep the bird out of the Notable Birds data feed. 
  • Hide the checklist after submitting it using the option available through "manage my observations."
 These all seem like good recommendations. I was surprised to learn about the option for hiding a checklist. I had not noticed that option before.