Citizen scientists flock to a new online bird atlas

To: "COG chatline" <>
Subject: Citizen scientists flock to a new online bird atlas
From: "Tony Lawson" <>
Date: Tue, 4 Mar 2014 17:07:07 +1100
By Richard Fuller, Hugh Possingham, Mat Gilfedder and Ayesha Tulloch
It is a sad but true fact that several of the NERP-ED and CEED Chief
Investigators have a pathological love of birds. One of the associated
afflictions of this appears to be a love of data about birds – lists of
birds, counts of birds, graphs of counts of birds, lists of lists of birds...
You get the idea. Hence it was only logical that we have entered into
a partnership with the fastest growing and most exciting citizen
science endeavour in Australia – Eremaea eBird.
Eremaea Birds is an online bird atlasing system. It was launched
back in 2003 by Australian birders Richard and Margaret Alcorn and,
at the time, it was the world’s first such system. The word ‘Eremaea’
comes from the name of the Australia’s great central desert
Eremaea Birds enabled birdwatchers, for the first time, to enter lists
of birds they had seen anywhere around the world. This was heaven
for many Australian birdwatchers and ten years later there were
thousands of regular Eremaea users and over 3.8 million records.
Eremaea was founded on the principle that bird data should
be freely shared (something that is dear to the heart of the
Environmental Decisions Group) and fundamental for transparent
environmental decision making.
In parallel with this exciting Australian initiative, eBird was launched
in North America in 2002 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the
National Audubon Society. It went global in 2010. eBird’s vision,
similar to that of Eremaea, is to allow birdwatchers to submit
geographically tagged lists of bird observations and to make all
data freely available. eBird had a small team of local Australian
reviewers, and has had around 1000 observers contributing records
in Australia.
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