Re: Ebird - Rating Photos

To: COG Chat <>
Subject: Re: Ebird - Rating Photos
From: Ryu Callaway <>
Date: Thu, 6 Apr 2017 01:01:53 +0000
Ebird does allow for photo specific comments about the bird and/or behaviour 
and/or feature of the bird depicted in the photo to be added by the observer 
when submitting a checklist, which is associated with the media and kept 
separate to the species comments. Similarity, there are fields to select age 
and sex of the bird in the image where known from a pre-defined list for 
consistency. There are a separate set of fields for audio including song type 
associated with each specific piece of audio. 
Similarity, images can be submitted for a particular race of a species. The 
race is not selected with the image, it is selected with the species. Eg. You 
would report a magpie as Australian magpie (White-backed) it Australian magpie 
(Black-backed) and upload the image into the relevant entry. Not all races are 
shown by default and you may need to use the add species button to find a race 
when entering. I highly recommend turning on scientific names​ in your settings 
as common names for races aren't always so helpful.

I am not sure how much of this is searchable, the races certainly are and if 
the other bits aren't yet searchable I would expect they will be made 
searchable in the near future.


--- Philip Veerman <> wrote:

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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