Cornell Lab of Ornithology eBirders
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s team consists of people who believe that birders have the ability to revolutionize the way that science and conservation take place.
Everyone in our team collaborates on eBird, a global network of birders who submit bird observations via the Internet to a central data repository. eBird has evolved from a basic citizen-science project into a collective global enterprise, taking a novel approach to citizen science by developing cooperative partnerships among experts in a wide range of fields: conservation biologists, quantitative ecologists, statisticians, computer scientists, GIS and informatics specialists, application developers, and data administrators. The goal is to increase data quantity through participant recruitment and engagement, but also to control for data quality issues and both spatial and temporal bias in data collection. eBird has 170 million records, with checklists from every county in the world including 96% of all species in the world. Underlying everything is the global network of birders and expert reviewers who contribute more than 10 million hours of volunteer time each year.
Three of us are based at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology where scientists, birders, conservationists, engineers, educators and students all work together for a common purpose: to understand birds and other wildlife, to engage the public in scientific discovery, and to use our knowledge to protect the planet. Kerem lives in Instanbul, Turkey, and is one of our international collaborators. Importantly, he is also our not-so-secret ace who actually knows what these Palearctic birds look and sound like.
Bird races, or as we call them “Big Days”, have a long tradition at the Cornell Lab. Over the last 25 years, we have used big days to engage the public in bird conservation. Collectively, members of our team hold big day records that span across the United States, last year setting a new North American record of 294 species. We hope to take some of what we’ve learned and see if we can apply it in Israel.
That said, we have a wee bit of a weakness: three of us have never birded in Israel . You have a lot of raptors. Seriously. Way more than we do. And wheatears. And larks. And warblers (but none of the warblers we know!). So we are studying up now and hoping some other teams will give us some pointers. And we have our secret weapon – Kerem.
At the very least, we can’t imagine a better venue to receive a good whipping by our Western Palearctic friends than Eilat. But more importantly, we are pleased to be able to help highlight the great work that BirdLife International and its partners are doing to protect birds. We feel honored and privileged to be invited by The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel.
We can’t wait for Eilat.
Jessie Barry has been competing in bird races across the Americas (Alaska to Peru) since she was a teenager.
Jessie is the project leader for Merlin Bird ID, a Cornell free app to help beginners identify North American birds.
Jessie has a passion for bird ID and sharing it with others, particularly young birders. She is also a member of the Cornell Lab’s Team Sapsucker, which holds the record for the most species of birds tallied in 24-hours in the United States, 294 species.
She is known for keeping the boys in line on big days.
After several years leading tours for Victor Emanuel Nature Tours, Marshall joined the Cornell Lab in 2007 as one of the eBird Project Leaders. Marshall also manages the Clements Checklist along with Tom Schulenberg.
Prior to joining Team Sapsucker in 2008, Marshall spent a decade honing his Big Day skills in competitive birding events (including six World Series of Birding) from California to Maryland and Texas to New Jersey.
Marshall is famous for the modularized spreadsheets he uses to plan bird races down to the minute.
Mention 294 to him, the U.S. big day record that he had dreamt about holding since childhood, and watch the smile beam across his face!
Chris Wood grew up at the base of the Colorado Rockies, a region blessed with some of the best birding in the US in a landlocked state. This landscape served for inspiration for many of Chris’s current interests, such as geographic variation, migration, and conservation.
Chris has been at Cornell for about ten years where he is project leader for eBird and Neotropical Birds. He also leads for WINGS/Sunbird birding tours. He’s a big day veteran and captain of Cornell’s Team Sapsucker.
He looks forward to tackling the challenges of an unfamiliar landscape in Israel.
Chris helps make sure none of his team members head to “the dark side” on big days.
Kerem started birding at the age of 13, inspired by a bird book brought back from the UK as a present from his aunt. His interest was then quickly advanced with the help of a German high school teacher.
After studying biology and ecology he moved to Ecuador and worked with BirdLife International and published the IBA inventory of Andean countries.
In 2005 Kerem returned to Turkey and started guiding bird tours. Since then he has co-authored the only reference book on the Birds of Turkey and translated two field guides into Turkish.
He is the manager of Turkish bird database “Kusbank” and speaks English, German, Spanish and his native Turkish.
Kerem is an experienced student of migration as he lives in Istanbul, right under the migration route of many storks, eagles and buzzards!