I will start by saying that what follows is based on my iOS app, but I think the same applies to other mobile phone systems.
I, and I think many other eBird users, have been very frustrated for years with the keyboard defaulting to numerics rather than alpha. My thought process has always been “That is species X
now count them” and that is how I have always entered them. The sequence of keystrokes was thus
<Search bar>; <ABC button to shift to alpha>; <3 alpha chars for species>;[<tap + as many times as you saw birds> OR, if it was a largeish flock <tap the species name then enter the number of birds.> then <DONE>
However in a discussion in the eBird Users FB group a supporter of the number-first approach explained a new way of entering the data. That is:
<Search bar>; <number of birds seen>; <Space bar>; <3 alpha chars for species> <tap species name>. Tap Search bar again to move on to the next species
This appears in the search bar as "# aaa". If you subsequently see another flock of the same species as you have already entered using the new approach just repeat the same steps. The app adds
your second flock size to that already there. (Of course if the additional “flock” is only one or two birds you can just tap the number against the species to increment the count. But if you have a long list the new approach saves scrolling through the list
to find the species you want and avoids arithmetic errors .
I used the new approach this morning in entering a list and it seemed both efficient and effective. I intend to try and train myself to use this approach in future.