Which eBird checklists should you share?

Spring is just around the corner, but as the recent snow has shown us, it’s not quite here yet. Some birds are starting to breed, but most are not. So, how do you know which birds to report to the atlas project? This question is a particular concern for people who are already entering their sightings into eBird and may be unsure when they should share a checklist with the ctbirdatlas account.

My rule of thumb is to share any checklists that contain observations of confirmed breeding (see the list of breeding codes here to find out what counts – basically any breeding code that consists of two letters).  I also share checklists for species that may be hard to confirm later, especially if there is evidence of probable breeding (again, see the list linked above).

For example, the wild turkeys pictured below are clearly engaged in courtship behavior (breeding code C), with the two males in the center displaying to the females. Courtship does not confirm breeding in the block, but it is likely that these birds will nest somewhere nearby. Consequently, we were very pleased when Gail Martino shared her checklist from block 95 (East Haven), and will add the record in the atlas database. Checklists without breeding codes are useful, but do not need to be shared with the atlas eBird account.

And, if you don’t use eBird, you can report your early breeding observations using the form available here.

Many thanks to Gail Martino for permission to use her photo.