eBird and the 3rd Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas
Why do I need to register?
There are some important differences and additional information we need for Atlas data:
These things may seem subtle, but they make a big difference for ensuring the Atlas has the best possible data. By registering you’ll be able to contribute your data to this important project and stay in the loop for exciting Atlas news.
Ready to register for Atlas-3? Click here.
How do I contribute my data?
There are a few different ways to contribute your data to the Atlas. We hope you will choose the option that works best for you.
Keep in mind that if you’re entering through NatureCounts (either the web entry or app), you can set up your Atlas account to copy your Atlas forms automatically to your eBird account [watch a video].
In year one of Atlas-3, we found that a lot of eBirders ended up using a combination of these methods. Many used eBird for most of the year and imported their checklists when they observed breeding evidence, but then switched to NatureCounts during the main breeding season (late May through July) since it saved them the extra step of importing each checklist.
What is NatureCounts?
NatureCounts is the database that powers Atlas-3 and many other Citizen Science projects coordinated by Birds Canada. It is one of the world’s largest biodiversity data repositories. It contains data on the distribution and abundance of Canadian species, gathered by a network of volunteers and scientists in dozens of partnership programs. The NatureCounts platform allows users to collect, interpret and access data on wildlife in Canada.
Why use NatureCounts for Atlas data entry?
There are pros and cons to whichever approach you take for entering your data to Atlas-3 and in the end it is a personal choice. There have been many improvements to the NatureCounts app since the start of the Atlas, so many bugs have been worked out. Here is an overview of some things to consider when you decide which method best fits your needs.
Frequently asked questions
Someone is already registered as a “Principal Atlasser” in the square(s) I am interested in. Can I still participate?
That’s no problem. A principal atlasser is there to ensure the square gets the minimum coverage but additional coverage wherever you may be is needed to really fill out the Atlas data. Your effort becomes even more valuable if you can target under-covered squares, especially those in central and northern Ontario. Contact a regional coordinator if you’d like to become a principal atlasser for a square, otherwise just submit your Atlas data wherever you may be.
How do I set up my NatureCounts account to automatically push to eBird?
How do I share a NatureCounts list with eBird?
How do I import an eBird checklist?
What extra information do I need to add when I import an eBird checklist?
When you import your checklist from eBird:
What do the symbols beside a species’ name mean?
When you are entering your data, you might notice certain symbols beside a species name. These relate to the status of the species and may be dependent on the time of year and location. Records with these symbols require extra documentation to help with confirming the record and for precise mapping.
How do you enter a checklist using the NatureCounts app?
How do you enter a checklist using the NatureCounts website?
How do you enter point counts on the app?
Standard point counts (without distance bands):
“Advanced” point counts (with distance bands): TBA
Should I copy all of my eBird checklists or just those with breeding evidence?
If you are actively searching for breeding evidence as opposed to “just birding” then please enter your checklists into NatureCounts. This is important to capture the amount of atlassing effort going on.
In year one, many eBirders used eBird for recording their data in the “shoulder season” and just imported the checklists with breeding evidence on them, then switched to full time using NatureCounts for data entry once the breeding season picked up in late May.
Are there differences between the breeding codes in eBird and Atlas-3?
There are a few differences between the breeding evidence codes used in eBird and Atlas-3. For the most part you don’t need to worry about these, since the data are translated when you import or export data between the two platforms. However, it is good to know the code discrepancies to help avoid confusion:
How do I add pins for species of interest?
How do I share an Atlas list with another eBird user?
Currently, NatureCounts does not support eBird checklist sharing with multiple observers so you will have to go into eBird after you’ve submitted the list and share through eBird. You can click on the eBird checklist link on your NatureCounts checklist (on the website) to go straight to the eBird checklist page where you can share with other observers you were with.
How do I fix a mistake on an Atlas-3 checklist?
If you need to edit an Atlas form, please do so on the Atlas website. Any changes you make there will automatically be sent to eBird to update a linked eBird checklist, should it exist.
Changes you make to your eBird checklist will not be sent back to the Atlas. Note that if you edit your eBird checklist and then edit your Atlas form, the changes you make in your Atlas form will overwrite the changes in your eBird checklist.
How do I know if I have already shared an eBird list with Atlas-3?
If you have the option to automatically push your Atlas data to eBird turned on (found under your NatureCounts profile), then when you import an eBird checklist, it will add some text to the eBird checklist comments like “NatureCounts – Breeding Bird Atlas” so that’s a handy way to know which checklists you’ve already imported (if you have a lot of eBird data, you could download your data [on the “my eBird”, found near the bottom of the left margin] and sort on the checklist comments field to help identify eBird checklists you haven’t yet imported.
What if I try to import an eBird checklist that I already have done?
No problem! NatureCounts won’t create a duplicate Atlas checklist. Instead, it will update the Atlas checklist – if you’ve made any changes to the Atlas version that haven’t been saved to the eBird version, then those updates will get over-written.
How do I know if I have already shared an Atlas-3 list with eBird?
If you’re looking to see which Atlas checklists have been shared with your eBird account, you can go to “View data forms” under the “Explore” menu to see a list of your Atlas checklists and there will be an eBird icon beside each list that is shared with eBird.