Team eBird Michigan- who we are

Welcome to the Team eBird Michigan blog; your place for all things eBird in Michigan! We are very excited to announce this blog, which will serve to help all eBirders better understand how eBird works in the Great Lakes State. Although the idea of eBird is pretty simple (enter your bird sightings!), there are many twists and turns to using eBird correctly, and it is our job to make sure everyone knows how to do that. As eBird reviewers, we also need to ensure that eBird records are vetted for accuracy, so that the database maintains its highest possible level of quality. There are lots of very neat tools for exploring the eBird dataset, and we aim to make sure you are aware of them all. As time allows, we will update this blog with all kinds of interesting content, and we hope you will check in often.

Following eBird’s inception in the late 1990s and early 2000s, its first Michigan reviewer, Adam Byrne, was brought on board by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Adam has singlehandedly nursed the Michigan eBird dataset since then, until the addition of a second reviewer in 2013 (see below). Team eBird Michigan is in the process of making some big changes to the review process and eBird filters in Michigan, and we will update you here as these changes occur.

But we wanted to start with a simple introduction of who we are currently:

Adam M. Byrne, DeWitt, MI (originally from Davisburg, MI)

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Adam is a Cornell University  & Michigan State University graduate with a lifelong interest in birds. He is a plant pathology research assistant at Michigan State University, and has been involved at Whitefish Point Bird Observatory both as waterbird counter and as a member of the board of directors. Adam is Michigan’s top lister, having recorded 398 species of birds in Michigan in his lifetime, and a longstanding member and current secretary of the Michigan Bird Records Committee. Adam has statewide review responsibility for all MBRC Review Species, and for all bird species in 77 of Michigan’s 83 counties.

Caleb Putnam, Kentwood, MI (originally from Lapeer, MI)

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Caleb is an Alma College and University of Montana graduate who became obsessed with birds around age 8 and hasn’t let up since. Caleb is the Michigan Important Bird Areas (IBA) program coordinator for National Audubon Society, and has worked for the US Fish and Wildlife Service & Michigan Audubon as Kirtland’s Warbler tour guide, and for the Michigan Natural Features Inventory, and frequently gives presentations to state Audubon chapters and leads tours for Michigan Audubon. Caleb reviews non-MBRC review species for Muskegon, Montcalm, Newaygo, Kent, Ionia, and Barry Counties, and is currently overhauling the Michigan eBird filters for the entire state (more on this topic in a future blogpost).

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