Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Feedback on 'State Needs Alerts'


Yesterday we launched the next wave of eBird alerts--the State Needs Alerts. The goal of these alerts is to send you notification on birds being reported in a given state, that you have not yet personally reported to eBird--essentially comparing your lists with all the new reports being submitted on a daily basis. See news item here:

We'll be moving on to a county alert with similar functionality next, and would love to get your feedback on these state alerts before going forward. One of the big things, at least in California and a few other states with a lot of introduced species, is the fact that if I (or you) don't report the introduced exotics, they'll show up on your needs alert. So because I haven't reported all the parrots from LA County, those always show up on my alerts. Kind of annoying, but I can get around it. The alerts did drive me to finally go out and see the nearby Tufted Duck!

Brian and Team eBird


  1. I just posted this in the previous blog entry, but just wanted to post this in the latest entry as well:

    I want to echo the comments of others - it would be nice to be able to subscribe to/view state and county year list needs.

    This might particularly help spur some of the more veteran, experienced birders whose observations I'm sure you'd love to have to use eBird more.

  2. Evan

    Yes, that's in the works too. We have a prototype working already but it's not yet ready for prime time.



  3. Hey guys,

    I really like the state needs function so far. Really looking forward to county and year functionality.

    Suggestion: Often there is a large number of reports for a single species. It would be nice I think to have the initial state of the needs list be "collapsed" by species and be able to "expand" each species, as desired, to view all reports for that species. This would be especially useful for a state where you "need" a lot of species including some fairly common ones. It would also partially solve the "exotics" problem because each exotic would only take up one line in the default view.

    Having a way to suppress certain exotics entirely, both in the needs alerts and in the personal lists display, would be excellent.

  4. I really enjoy the alerts. The ABA alert was just too big for me (I'll never chase out of my home state), but the state alerts are fantastic. Echoing previous comments, can't wait for County and year alerts. I also think that "lumping" species is a great idea. Would also be nice to see species lumped on Silers RBA alert.

  5. I'd like to be able to sort the list (as displayed on demand) by county.

  6. I have some privacy concerns about the new alerts. Every location includes a map link, so if you're reporting birds from your home or a relative's house, the listing provides a map of the exact location. If you check the alerts in a state where you haven't done much or any birding, there are many common birds being reported from observers' back yards and you can see exactly where they live.

    There are a couple of ways this could be fixed. You could show maps only for public locations like hotspots. Or you could give users the option to flag their locations whether or not to show a map link in the alerts.

  7. Using a blank eBird account and the state needs alert, I can see all birds reported to eBird in any state during the past week, complete with maps and comments. Could you guys make a way to see the entire data feed like this without signing into a blank eBird account?

  8. I love the ability of eBird to e-mail the state alerts...just too many e-mails to read, but I didn't try just the daily e-mail yet. Or I just need to see more birds in my state to slow down the number of e-mails.

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  10. I really like the state needs alert and am looking forward to the county needs alert. Hopefully it will be ready by the time spring migration really gets going. I think that an alert for lifers within a specified amount of miles would also be valuable. Where I live in southeast Michigan it is a easier to chase birds in northwest Ohio and southwest Ontario than it is to chase many birds found in Michigan. The state alerts for these places don't help me a lot because I still am missing several common species so the state alerts are just clogged up with them.