Tag Archive | birding competition calgary

Join Us For 2015 Competition!

eBird Calgary 2015 Birding Competition

We are now taking registrations for the eBird Calgary 2015 birding competition. Registration is free for Nature Calgary members until the end of December.

Harlequin Ducks

Harlequin Ducks at the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary . Photo by Bob Lefebvre

This is a year-long effort in which participants try to see or hear as many species as possible within 80 km of Calgary. The competition is sponsored by Nature Calgary, and you can register now at this page.

All the details about the competition can be found at the 2015 Competition page on this blog (click the link or see the tab at the top of the page). There is also information on this Nature Calgary page.

Join us to meet new people, find new places to go birding, and see new birds!

Birding Competition: How It Works

Posted by Bob Lefebvre

Last Friday’s post announced the upcoming 2015 Calgary Birding Competition. Today I will give details about how it will work and how you can get involved now.


Bohemian Waxwing, photographed by Matthew Sim during the 2010 competition

The main difference between this competition and the previous ones that Nature Calgary has held is that the recording of all bird sightings will be done using eBird, the online bird listing database. Previously birders could submit their sightings on spreadsheets or paper printouts, and the organizers of the competition would compile the results. Using eBird makes this process automatic, and the ongoing status of the competition will be visible to anyone.

There are many other advantages to using eBird, for both the birder and for anyone who wants to learn about the birds of the Calgary area:

  • eBird is a permanent, publicly available record of bird sightings
  • eBird is a searchable database
  • anyone, whether an eBird user or not, can access the database
  • it includes sightings from around the world
  • it includes historical sightings
  • sighting locations are shown on maps
  • birders can request to be alerted by email of rare bird sightings, or sightings of any bird they need for own list

As eBird use has increased, it has become a valuable tool for researchers studying the status and distribution of bird species. We feel that its importance for the birding community will continue to grow over time. The value and accuracy of eBird’s data will also increase as more birders use it.

Therefore, two of the main goals of holding this competition will be:

  1. To train a new generation of birders to use eBird
  2. To encourage veteran birders to begin using eBird, and to enter their bird lists from previous years into the database.

The Calgary area is already among the top three locations in Canada in terms of the number of sightings submitted to eBird, but we would like to see that increase dramatically from 2015 on.

It is quite easy to set up an eBird account and get started. Here is the sign-in page. We will offer help to anyone who needs it; more on that below.

To take part in the 2015 competition, you will need to:

  1. register with us (we will set this up soon)
  2. have an eBird account
  3. set up a Patch list on eBird for the 80-km circle

After that it is just a matter of entering your sightings into eBird as you make them, and making sure that any locations where you recorded birds inside the 80-km circle are included in that patch.

z - nutchatch

Red-breasted Nuthatch, photographed by Ken Johnson during the 2010 competition

Getting Started Now

We hope that many of you will get started using eBird and setting up your competition patch soon, so that we can use 2014 as a trial run to work out any problems. This way you will also be able to familiarize yourself with the process and learn more about using eBird, and see how many species you can find inside the circle this year. I will give details on how to register and how to set up a competition patch in an upcoming post.

If You Need Help

Although eBird is fairly easy to use, if you feel you need help we will offer it to anyone who wants to get started. If you have set up your eBird account but just have a few questions, you can contact us by email. Our email address is ebirdyyc(at)gmail.com.

For those of you who would prefer it, we will be holding in-person training sessions. These will take place in a state-of-the-art computer lab, where you can go through the whole process of setting up an eBird account and entering bird sightings. For anyone who uses other bird-listing software, we will also teach you how to import that data into your eBird account. The first training session is already full (it was advertised in the Nature Calgary newsletter) but we will hold more sessions as needed. If you want to take part in this, please register at birdstudy(at)naturecalgary.com.

Calgary Birding Competition

Posted by Bob Lefebvre

Do you enjoy keeping track of the bird species you see? Do you want to find more species and explore new birding locations in the Calgary area? If so, you may want to take part in a birding competition which will be held throughout the year 2015.

This competition will be similar to those that Nature Calgary has sponsored in the past. In the year 2000, a competition was held to see who could identify the most species of birds within the Calgary city limits. In 2005, the area used was the 80-km (radius) circle which is traditionally used for the May Species Count.  In 2010 we again used the city limits as the competition area (you can read all about the 2010 event on the Birds Calgary 2010 blog).


Willet, photographed by Brian Elder during the 2010 competition.

Following this pattern, the 2015 competition will be a year-long event to see who can find the most species inside the 80-km circle centred on the Centre Street Bridge. Many of the details are still to be worked out, but there will be different categories of competitors based on age or experience, with prizes awarded to the winners.

The main goal of having such a competition is to encourage more people, especially youths, to get involved in the Calgary birding community. Participants can also expect to learn a lot about the birds of the Calgary area and the many great locations to go birding here.

If this is of interest to you, follow this blog to see how you can get started this year. We will be setting up a registration process soon.

Birds Calgary 2010 Competition Pages In New Location

This blog was started in 2009 as a forum for keeping competitors informed about the Birds Calgary 2010 competition.  After the competition ended we kept the blog going, and it has evolved into a general birding resource for Calgary and area birders.  The information from the competition was still here,  under the “2010 Bird Comp” page at the top of the blog.  Now, as we approach the allowable size limits for this blog, and with lots of ideas for important new pages, we have decided to create a new blog to house all the information from the competition.

The new blog can be found at “2010 Birding Competition” and there is also a link to it under the “Blogroll” heading on our home page.  It won’t be an active blog with new posts but all the competition pages are there.  The 2010 pages on this blog will be removed in a few days.

Not only does this free up a lot of space here, but the competition pages display better and are easier to navigate in their new home.  Check out all the stats and the great photos, and if you were a participant, relive the competition!  Only eight more years and we can do it again.