Monday, January 29, 2018

Warbler Guy, where do I register for ebird rare alert email posts?

Henry (in Janesville, WI).....There's a page at to do this task.

The following information is accessed via:

eBird Rare Bird Alerts

This eBird Alert notifies you about any unusual bird that has been reported in your region of interest, and provides a link to the location and to the checklist so you can get more information about the sighting, and make the critical call as to whether it's worth calling in sick to work! You can choose to receive Rare Bird Alerts on either the county, state, or country level, and get notices for all rare birds in that region! Read on for details on how the rarities are determined.

Like all alerts
, you have the option to subscribe hourly, daily, or just to visit the Alerts page and click to see the results from the past seven days. Since most Alerts will be drawing on your eBird data, you are required to log in to see them. Check out the article on subscribing and unsubscribing to Alerts for more information.

How it works
The Rare Bird Alert works in conjunction with the regional eBird checklist filters. Every time a record is entered in eBird, the location and date of the sighting is run against a list of expected maximum counts for each species in the area. If the number of birds in the sighting exceeds those expected counts, you receive the eBird confirmation message (always a sign that you have found a good bird!), asking you to confirm your entry. An Oleaginous Hemispingus at eBird HQ in Sapsucker Woods would definitely show up on these reports. These records are then confirmed by our volunteer expert reviewers, and these steps are critical to our data quality process. These checklist filters define what constitutes a "rare bird" in a region by highlighting any species (or subspecies) with the count limit set to zero, and those are the reports featured in the Rare Bird Alerts! These Alerts include not only out-of-range birds, but also unseasonal sightings. So a Curve-billed Thrasher showing up in Vermont obviously would be considered a rarity, but so would a January report of Red-eyed Vireo from the same area. As with other alerts, rarity records that have not been reviewed by an eBird editor are labeled as "UNCONFIRMED". Once records have been reviewed and approved, they are labeled as "CONFIRMED".

eBird checklist filters 
Please be aware that our Rare Bird Alerts rely on the quality of the checklist filter running behind it. Although eBird is a global project, these checklist filters are still fairly coarse in many areas outside North America, and these coarse filters could miss some reports of rarities. The United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Chile, Argentina, and Costa Rica as well as the United Kingdom, France, Portugal, Iceland, Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific, and scattered other countries and regions have refined, detailed filters. But for many other countries the filters are in need of refinement from experts, including most of Africa and Asia, parts of Europe, and even some areas in the New World (Guyana, Colombia, and a few others). If you are willing to help develop filters in these parts of the world, we would welcome your help (please get in touch at Also, if you think a bird should show up on the Rare Bird Alert and it isn't, drop us a line so we can modify the filter accordingly!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Warbler Guy, is it unusual to see wood-warblers at backyard seed feeders? Wood-warblers at feeders I can expect to see?

Jerry (in Michigan).....Great question, as in your area this time of year I'd expect potential seed feeder sightings from a lonely, uncommon Pine Warbler or Yellow-rumped Warbler.

In the West along coastal California, it's not common, but Townsend's Warbler could show up along with Yellow-rumped.

Yellow-rumped subspecies in the lower 48 states —both Myrtle and Audubon's — are able to digest waxy coatings on seeds (such as privet and wax myrtle berries), unlike most other wood-warbler species....and they also seem to have hearty digestive juices to process seeds (as does Pine).

Otherwise, I have to admit in my 40 years of birding, I've never seen any other species at seed feeders.....though nectar feeders sometimes coax Cape May Warbler, among others.

I'm out to lead a birding tour soon to Bodega Bay, so wishing you the best.....Feel free to see my "Birding Tours" area at my web site:

Regards, Daniel Edelstein

Monday, January 1, 2018

Warbler Guy, given you appear to be a birding guide in N. CA, where can I find reports of bird sightings there?

Sally (in Joliet, IL)....

Glad to Share and Tell the answer:

1. Go to:

2. Here, read current and recent bird sighting reports from various spots in n. California.

3. Or click on the pulldown menu to find a specific region that has a listserv
list of bird sightings whose geographic area corresponds to where you plan on birding (e.g., the listserv titled "NorthBayBirds" at comprises Marin Co. where I well
as other San Francisco Bay counties such as Sonoma and Napa Co.).

4. Email me at if you have more questions about finding various birding spots reported by folks who may not include directions to help you find birding venues.

Regards, Daniel
(Please feel free to see the "Birding Tours" area for information about my outings.)

415-382-1827 (o)

P.S.: You may be interested in my latest warbler quiz on the far right column here?