eBird is an indispensable tool for the modern, savvy birder.  It even rolls with my lingo on the home page:

Birding in the 21st Century!  What's not to like?

There are a number of key parts to the ebird experience as a viewer, only a few of which I will cover on this page.

The two most essential parts of ebird include the ability to learn about and enjoy birds when we can't get out into the field, and know where to go/what to expect when we can.

The first objective is fulfilled with the "Species Maps" button under the "Explore Data" tab.
This tool allows us to find and track birds and their friends (such as "migrant warblers") around the world.   This is a great way to get a handle on migrations, local owls (owls are great!) and other species that can otherwise "fly under your radar".

 

Here, with the species tab open, I tell eBird I want to know the whereabouts of the blackburnian warblers.  

 

 

Instead of showing me all the individual sightings ever, I specify this month range (Aug-Nov) and the last ten years option.

It turns out they are all over the place right now, having migrated up the eastern seaboard.    So...

...Using the next date range (you can be more specific than I) we can see where they migrate on the south-end of things.

 

Below:

Wow!!  they are all pretty much in South America, as our frosty winter has set in here in the north.  

As you may well imagine, this is an amazing tool to discover patterns and predict when birds may arrive and depart, letting us effectively, "bird from home".

Not a problem!

 

 

The second objective is equally simple with eBird: what can we expect from a location, bird wise?

 

Using the "Explore Hotspots" tab now, I can search for my local county.  YMMV on what criteria you will need, be it city, county, etc. 

All these little upside-down pears show up.  Similar to the first foray, we can specify dates from the dropdown tab- but really, just use the right hand button and specify "Past Week" or "Past Month" (as I have done here).   Now, the color code represents recent activity!   plan your trip and pack your bags!

I hope this is helpful breaking the ice into the world of eBird- it really fires up your birding lifestyle and ability!

-Jess