While bird watching may have a reputation as a quiet, solo activity, it is possible for your little bird swooning habit or even your big annual birding trip to contribute to an important, global scientific and environmental movement.

Before you pack your binoculars and head for the hills on your next bird watching adventure, you may want to download Ebird, an app created for Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA. Ebird is the tool behind a worldwide community science project allowing participants to monitor the presence and movement of birds all around the world. Our own bird watching community science project portal, New Zealand Bird Atlas, feeds into eBird and joins the records of thousands of other bird atlases around the world in tracking the health of our bird populations. 

As a project, NZ Bird Atlas began on June 1st 2019 and will run until June 1st 2024. With real time data of where birds were seen or heard all over the New Zealand map, scientists and conservationists can use this information to find out where help is needed for specific birds and to see which species are flourishing around the country.

NZ Bird Atlas wants complete lists from participants of any birds seen or heard in an area - even the potentially less eggciting introduced species like the blackbird or common sparrow. This will help form a complete picture of bird life in New Zealand. 

With the app, it’s easy to scroll through and find the species from a localised bird pack, which you can search and download. As well as recording your own findings, you can also use NZ Bird Atlas to find out what others have seen around your area or in places you visit. You may even make some bird loving friends to join you on your next adventure! Download Ebird here or here, and check out the NZ Bird Atlas website here.

Bird watching New Zealand birds