Welcome to the eBirdr Bird Identification Advisor. Answer the first question below to begin.
eBirdr Advisor is designed to counsel you on your bird identifications. If it cannot ID the bird conclusively for you, it will (1) help define what to look for (2) determine possibilities (3) narrow the list of possibilities and (4) allow you to examine what-if scenarios.
You will be asked questions similar to how an expert birder would derive knowledge about a bird. If completely uncertain about an answer then respond with Unknown rather than give a false answer which may disqualify your bird. The field of possibilities, however, will be narrowed down based on how much information you can provide. There is a context Help button at the bottom of most of the questions. Added information here will add clarity by defining or explaining in more detail what is being asked. Also this will explain why this question is being asked.
It is a good habit to scan an unknown bird from head-to-tail in the field noting any distinctive characteristic in order to best answer the questions. Once you become accustomed to the questions they may help you with your observations and eventually reduce the number of Unknowns given in your responses. The order of questions, however, may not be asked in a systematic head-to-tail order. eBirdr Advisor optimizes the order of questioning to reduce unnecessary questioning.
When you have completed the questions the choices listed will be based on your responses and bird abundances. The higher up the list the more likely the bird will be what you are described for your area. Other birds listed will be similar to the one chosen as the most probable. Check these similar birds out as well as they may well help clinch your ID or show interesting patterns.
The eBirdr Advisor attempts to ID birds with pointed questions. It is a rule-based knowledge expert system that employs fuzzy logic to derive answers to your queries. Therefore don't be intimidated by the questions. Do your best to describe your bird. The system is flexible enough to allow close responses. This is especially so with size and colour. As indicated earlier you can always answer Unknown if you have absolutely no idea. You will probably just get more choices to choose from at the end of the questioning. Like the game 20 Questions however, there will always be less than 20 questions.
Birding itself is a fuzzy pursuit with colours often subjective and variable changing with light conditions. Size can be deceptive based on distance and context. A large bird will appear smaller at a distance. A small bird seen against large foliage will appear different than the same bird seen against small leaves.
eBirdr may ask about location and season seen to assess the likelihood or abundance of a bird in your area. But abundances and locations change. Even bird names and their relationships may be changed with new knowledge. Users of the older Birdstar expert system will recognize that eBirdr Advisor is based on it. And like Birdstar this tool will evolve to be better at giving advice.
You may test your memory with this Advisor after your birding trip but we expect some users will check their IDs by using it live, in the field. But let's not take this Advisor too seriously. Even experts make wrong calls. We hope you will enjoy using this advisor as a guide but also as a game to test your observational skills and to recognise new patterns in birding that may not have been evident before.
Your feedback will be appreciated and used to improve the eBirdr Advisor experience. Please feel free to contact us and let us know what you think and to report any issues found. We have provided a Feedback/Problem button on the questions and at the end of questioning to assist in this. Here you can provide context feedback listing any issues you perceive with the questioning or the end result. If you know the bird you were trying to ID and could not this information along with your input based on your feedback from these buttons will help us better diagnose the problem and continuously improve the Advisor.
Good luck and good birding,
Larry & Kevin