There will be one drawing for new users who sign up to eBird and enter data by September 6, and a separate drawing with a separate iPod Touch prize, for existing eBird users who enter checklists in the same period. An additional five eBird users will win free downloads of the BirdsEye app.
BirdsEye and the newly released BirdsEye Lite are apps for the iPhone and iPod touch. They provide basic identification information for North American birds including photographs from VIREO, text descriptions from Kenn Kaufman, and voice recordings from the Cornell Lab’s Macaulay Library.
But their most innovative feature is the way the apps integrate with eBird and Google Maps. They check the eBird database to find recent sightings of birds near you. The results are displayed on a map and you can find directions to the birds you’re interested in.
I saw for myself how useful BirdsEye was during scout week before the World Series of Birding this year. We were unfamiliar with parts of Cape May, and BirdsEye quickly led us to possible locations for birds like Grasshopper Sparrow and Red-headed Woodpecker. (Alas, we missed both these species on the actual count day.) BirdsEye is a great tool for visitors trying to track down regional specialties even if they don’t have a local guide.
Now, BirdsEye Lite gives people an inexpensive way to test out the idea. For $1.99, users get access to 135 species of common North American birds. For those who like how BirdsEye works, the full version, with 857 species, is just $19.99.
These apps are a great working example of how eBird combines the efforts of thousands of birders to help everyone see more birds. And now, by contributing your own data to eBird, you may just win yourself an iPod Touch and a copy of BirdsEye! Just remember to enter at least one eBird checklist by September 6th.
(Image: BirdsEye Lite screenshot courtesy Bird in the Hand. More contest information at eBird)