Re: Ebird - Rating Photos

To: 'COG Chatline' <>
Subject: Re: Ebird - Rating Photos
From: Philip Veerman <>
Date: Wed, 5 Apr 2017 21:58:14 +0000

Fair point and true in the majority of cases but maybe it should clarify: does everyone agree that: the core purpose of the photograph is to show the distinctive features of the bird, as in the identification points, rather than perhaps interesting behaviour.     A good photo of cranial kinesis (the ability to bend the beak upwards) in a Godwit is as valid in a Hudsonian Godwit (identifiable or not as to its underwings) as any other godwit or wader. The one posted to cog list recently showing the toes of a cuckoo was especially useful for that purpose (to show a cuckoo’s toes, a view we rarely get) although the particular species involved would make little difference to that aspect. Then again how far does the idea extend, to being clear about within species features, difference in age, sex, race, etc, may not be shown, although no doubt as to species.  A good photo can be useful if it is of an unusual specimen, as in one in which the distinctive features are odd, (provided it is labelled as such).




From: Martin Butterfield [
Sent: Thursday, 6 April, 2017 6:22 AM
To: Julie Clark
Cc: COG Chatline
Subject: Re: [canberrabirds] Re: Ebird - Rating Photos


I had read the guidelines (and rated a few of the images) a few weeks back when it was first announced.  The issue I have with the guidelines is that they don't explicitly cover what I see as the core purpose of the photograph - showing the distinctive features of the bird.  


For example the 5 star rating is applied to a photograph with "...a bird that fills the frame, is sharp and well-lit, has a clean background, and is posed well. "   All of those attributes are about the artistic value of the photograph, and are necessary to get a 5 rating but if they don't include the key marks of the bird are not sufficient.  


By way of example I'd suggest that 

  • a crystal clear photograph of a Godwit standing alone on a sandbank which meets all of those criteria could only be rated 5 (as an example of Hudsonian Godwit) if it had its wings raised to reveal the black armpits; but
  • an image of the bird which is slightly fuzzy and has a jumbled background of several other Godwits  (satisfying "Fairly sharp, decently lit (e.g., dappled lighting, partially backlit), a busy background (e.g., branches), is partially obscured, and doesn’t fill very much of the frame" thus rating 3) but which shows the black armpits should be rated at least 4 or perhaps 5.




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