Google Earth and Birding

I was pleased to find out that eBird is now using Google Earth to let birders map nearly the exact location of a bird sighting or checklist.  This feature (which actually was introduced a little while back) creates a much easier way to find where your birdspot is and then report checklists to that area.  I love eBird and this feature helps when birding in new areas.

Bill Schmoker’s Birding Blog has a lot of great details about birding with Google Earth including displaying Christmas Bird Count circles, giving directions to birders, and possibilities for Breeding Bird Atlases among others.  I would like to add something that I have been using them for in Birdfreak’s project CAWS (Changing All Wasted Space).

Many times when I’m driving lonely country roads or areas on the outskirts of Rockford, I spot areas with loads of grass and not much else.  As long as I remember my route, I can check it out later and see just how much land is there.  Not only that, it makes it incredibly easy to find how close the wasted space is in relation to currently protected areas (provided you know the protected area).

Google Earth is an easy to use tool that coincides nicely with our Geobirder project.  I can see other possibilities in the future and I hope more birding organizations will begin to start utilizing this awesome tool.  Any other ideas on how Google Earth helps conservation or birding, let me know.

In this scaled down version, you can see the farm fields (not wasted space if being used for farming) and an area where 35th St and Blackhawk Rd meet.  This area is a church that has a few scattered trees and a bunch of dingy grass.  To the east, a road heading south (parallel to the highway I-39) is the entrance to Kishwaukee Gorge Forest Preseve.  The goal would be to create as much habitat in the area to connect this and various other preserves to each other, easing the fragmentation a little bit at a time.

6 thoughts on “Google Earth and Birding

  1. I think it happened in late-November. I too love eBird a lot. I hope more and more birders start using or continue using the program because the data that comes from it is great.

  2. Rick – Yeah, I guess I am confusing the terms Google Maps and Google Earth.  eBird does use Google Maps and not Google Earth since G.E. is a software download.  However, I use Google Earth for my own research projects.  A cool feature with Google Earth is that you can save your current view as a .jpg file to use, like on a blog.
    Other than that, I suppose it is fairly similar to Google Maps’ satellite view, but I find Google Earth much easier to use. There are other features that I haven’t used yet but will most likely use in the future…they are for paying users.

  3. Thanks for this info! I’ve been frustrated trying to get ebird to pinpoint to an exact location in the recent past – I’m looking forward to using this very soon.

  4. NatureWoman – You are welcome. I hope it works well for you. Sometimes eBird runs a little sluggish but they seem to always be looking to improve their site.

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