eBird - https://ebird.org/about - is a not-for-profit website established by Cornell University, and represents a global resource for birdwatchers everywhere.......
When I first moved to the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia, last year, I was captivated by the numbers and diversity of the local bird life. I started off just photographing birds in our local area - plenty to choose from ! - but over time started to explore further afield.
I came across eBird on the net, and found it to be a great resource. Not only does it enable you to keep a detailed record of your birdwatching via a mobile app, it also provides a database of sightings by area, date and numerous other criteria. It provides links to checklists completed by other birdwatchers in your area, and you can upload photos and audio recordings from your trips. Some of the photography uploaded by users is superb.
Visiting local hotspots is a great way of familiarising yourself with a new area.
If you are interested in sighting a particular species, you can search for it and quickly identify when and where it was last seen in your local area. eBird also maintains a database of local hotspots, where greater than normal numbers of species have been sighted. Visiting local hotspots is a great way of familiarising yourself with a new area.
There is also a complementary website - Merlin - to assist with bird identification. It even uses AI to attempt to identify a species from a photograph uploaded by you. It's not foolproof, but over time I think it will become more and more effective.
From eBird's website:
"eBird began with a simple idea—that every birdwatcher has unique knowledge and experience. Our goal is to gather this information in the form of checklists of birds, archive it, and freely share it to power new data-driven approaches to science, conservation and education. At the same time, we develop tools that make birding more rewarding. From being able to manage lists, photos and audio recordings, to seeing real-time maps of species distribution, to alerts that let you know when species have been seen, we strive to provide the most current and useful information to the birding community.
eBird is the world’s largest biodiversity-related citizen science project, with more than 100 million bird sightings contributed each year by eBirders around the world. A collaborative enterprise with hundreds of partner organizations, thousands of regional experts, and hundreds of thousands of users, eBird is managed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology."