Some additional comments:

Many records in CACHE/SPARKS lack comments when they are warranted because the observer did not realize that there was something that indicated a need for comments.  If you are surprised or especially pleased about a sighting, that may be an indication that you should discuss it in the comments section.

Things that might warrant additional notes include:

number---an unusually high number (varies by species, season and location)
date--even slightly early or late dates deserve noting that the observer is aware of early/late date for this species
range--should seem obvious, but even experienced birders may not realize significance of a find being out of range/date in areas beyond the birder's usual birding venues

And, beyond the description of the bird, include the habitat, behavior and species associating with, if any.

There are several sources to check while in the field if you are in doubt about adding comments,  The Annotated Checklist of Missouri Birds (online and in print), and the MDC booklet, Enjoying Missouri's Birds are easy to take along.

Finally, if you learn after your report has been posted that comments should be added, you can edit (add) comments by going to the "My Reports" feature in  CACHE/SPARKS reports.  If you need help with this process, email me.

Edge Wade
ASM Conservation Partnership Coordinator
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On Jan 13, 2014, at 3:45 PM, Douglas, Ryan wrote:

It's time for another semi-annual reminder for eBird (and CACHE/SPARKSusers from your Missouri eBird reviewers, Ryan Douglas ([log in to unmask]) and Joshua Uffman ([log in to unmask])!

  • eBird will flag birds as "rare" or as a "high count" if the submission trips one of eBird's 15 regional filters for Missouri. (Congratulations on the great find, by the way!) If this happens, you will be prompted to add comments and/or photo/video/audio documentation.

    Please consider adding at least a few details to give the reviewers confidence in your sighting! And remember, these comments are not just for Josh and me today....other birders look at the comments to determine if they'll chase a bird or not, and future reviewers will look at the comments to assess validity for use in a wide variety of applications.

    Please think about adding things such as relative size, colors/markings, song/call description, behavior, etc. Anything that helps us verify the observation, really.

    Some comments such as, "small brown bird," "seen by others," or "continuing bird", doesn't really help us with the review and you'll probably get an email from one of us.
  • If you're a new(er) eBird user, you may be interested in importing your life list into eBird. There's no 'life list' option to get you started, but eBird has created a set of instructions to help you along:

    Essentially, just enter all of your observations on 1 Jan 1900 as an 'incidental' checklist that is marked as NOT reporting all species.
  • Many birders head to Riverlands (St. Charles Co.) in winter to look at gulls/waterfowl below/downstream of the dam. Please remember that this area is clearly indicated to be Illinois and anything seen in this area should be recorded using the Melvin Price Lock and Dam 26 (Alton) hotspot in Madison Co., IL ( 
  • Missouri has ~450 eBird hotspots. Please use them instead of adding a personal location, if applicable. This is especially helpful when there's a rare bird at a well-birded hotspot such as a national wildlife refuge or state park. These hotpots will show up if you choose your location on map. Using these hotspots helps build a more complete checklist for each location (many of which are not included in CACHE/SPARKS).

    My website has (almost) all of the Missouri hotspots broken down by county:

    If you know of a new place to add a hotspot, you can follow these instructions to request its addition to eBird:
  • If a bird requires documentation with the Missouri Bird Records Committee, please consider submitting a formal documentation (Josh or I will usually encourage eBirders to do so if it's necessary).

    Here is a link to the documentation form:

    Here is a link to the review list:

    eBird will always follow the MBRC's decision. In the absence of a photo or many observers, we may wait to see the MBRC's decision before adding it to the public database. Please keep in mind that we usually will request a formal documentation with MBRC for birds that are ~1-2 weeks earlier or later than the current early/late dates. Josh's website (not affiliated with ASM or eBird) is currently the best online resource for early/late dates in Missouri:

As always, feel free to email me of Josh off-list if you have any questions about eBird.


Ryan Douglas
Postdoctoral Fellow
310 Tucker Hall
University of Missouri
Columbia, MO 65211

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The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum
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ABA Birding Code of Ethics

ASM Spring Meeting: May 2-4, 2014 in Jefferson City Details and Online Registration

The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum
Archives / Subscription options / ASM Website / Email the list owners

ABA Birding Code of Ethics

ASM Spring Meeting: May 2-4, 2014 in Jefferson City Details and Online Registration