A lot of birders and researchers use two main web sites to record bird information. Birdata is maintained by Birdlife Australia and Ebird is maintained by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA. This has allowed the development of very detailed datasets of bird distribution, breeding, populations changes, the impact of changes to the environment, the impact of fire and such like. Birders also use them to share information about the location of rare and unusual species and of course to maintain records of their birding.
For beginners or those interested in finding a particular species these resources provide excellent information about current locations of individual species.
The databases can be accessed by anyone and are free. They can be accessed via websites and also via smartphone Apps.
If you want to find out more about the birds of the area both sites provide up-to-date information. You can use them without registering for an account, but it is a good idea to register so that you can contribute your own bird lists. Both sites have their strengths and weaknesses – see the book for a discussion of this.
Note: Search results for a particular species will vary between these two sites as most people use only one site to record their data. However, a lot of my older eBird records have now been loaded into Birdata. Still – it is best to check both to be sure. The examples below have specified a date range of 2013-2018 to limit searches to the more recent records.
You can adjust these settings to suit. For example, some birds are migratory and will only be found in certain months. A good example is the Flame Robin which visits this area in Autumn-Winter. Other birds, such as many of the cuckoos, are summer visitors. It always pays to check sites in advance if you are looking for a particular species.
eBird – ebird.com
Find a particular site
Explore –> Hotspots –> Type in search term –> View details
Most of the walks in the book are in eBird along with a lot of other sites.
These lists give you an idea of what has been seen, how often and dates. Useful to help you plan a visit.
Explore a region:
Explore –> Explore a Region –> try: Victoria, Australia –>
This gives you all checklists. Click on the map in the top right corner and drill down (double click on map or click + button) to any area you are interested in until you see individual birding reports that appear as coloured markers. Click on a marker to get more information.
For individual species:
Explore –> Species Maps –> enter species –> drill down to local area
The map below shows the sites for Speckled Warbler – 2013-2018 in this area. You can click on a site to get the full list
Birdata – birdata.birdlife.org.au
Explore a region:
Live Data Map on front page –> drill down by double-clicking
Find a species:
Explore –> Select species –> select data range –> drill down by double-clicking the map or use the + key to zoom down to the local area where you will see lots of dots representing survey points. The map below shows a search for Hooded Robin in this region.
Entering data allows you to contribute to the collection of useful information. And for a beginner they are great learning tools as they provide a check on likely species.