Thanks for that suggestion Kevin. I just tried it. Much quicker than eBird. 

Linda Orkin

Sent from my iPhone

> On Apr 20, 2018, at 8:35 PM, Kevin J. McGowan <> wrote:
> I've still got a few Fox Sparrows, too. I can't ever remember waking up to 
> them singing in my yard for over a week before. It always seemed that a few 
> would be present a few days in the spring and fall, and that was it.
> No doubt our lingering winter is to blame. They don't go far south for the 
> winter, but they go pretty far north to breed, so it makes sense that they 
> should be aware of local weather and be cautious before they make the final 
> move.
> A fun new addition to the Merlin app (free!) for your phone is that when you 
> browse birds in a specific area, you see bar charts of the likelihood of 
> occurrence for the whole calendar year. You can find the same information in 
> eBird, but it takes more finagling to find it there. In Merlin, go to 
> "Explore Birds" from the main screen, go up to the icon at the top that looks 
> like lines and spots, click "Likely Birds," then filter by your current 
> location and date. I suggest using "Family - Most Likely." That puts all the 
> sparrows together, all the ducks, etc. Scroll down to the sparrows, and 
> there, 11th on the list is Fox Sparrow. You can see by the bar chart that 
> it's never abundant, but that it's usually seen in March and April, and that 
> we're getting to the end of the narrow window when they normally occur.
> If you browse the sparrows, you see that the next most/least likely sparrow 
> here this time of year is White-crowned. But, comparing the two bar charts 
> shows that Fox Sparrows should be on their way out, while White-crowns should 
> just be coming in. 
> Also interesting, if you browse farther down the list, is that we have just 
> gone through the peak time of Vesper Sparrow reports. And, unlike the other 
> two species, they breed here! But, apparently they show up more on eBird 
> checklists during April as they arrive and can't get to their breeding 
> grounds yet, what with the snow and all, and show up in parking lots and 
> roadsides the way they have done this last week or two. There have been 
> dozens of Vesper Sparrow reports all over the county this last week and a 
> half, and that perfectly reflects the bar chart in Merlin based on ebird 
> checklists.
> I've been a half-hearted endorser of Merlin over the last few years because, 
> frankly, I don't need the help identifying birds. But, the app is becoming 
> much more than what it started as, and it's growing all the time. It's now 
> one of the fastest and easiest portals to finding what birds are to be 
> expected at a specific time of year, pretty much everywhere in the world. 
> Soon it is going to be a reference source for birds all over the world, with 
> photos, songs, and maps. Already it covers all of the US and Canada, Mexico, 
> and most of Central America, as well as parts of Colombia and northwestern 
> Europe. And it's growing every day.
> I did a West Coast business trip in February, and I used Merlin to tell me 
> what birds to expect in the places I visited. I went to Oregon, and Merlin 
> told me that Acorn Woodpeckers would be common in Medford, west of the 
> Cascade Mountains, but would be rare in Klamath Falls, east of the mountains. 
> It told me that I'd be seeing California Quail all along most of my drive to 
> San Diego, but when I went to Joshua Tree National Park, I would be seeing 
> Gambel's Quail.
> So, just a head's up to the birding community. The Cornell Lab's Merin app is 
> not just some cute toy for beginners. (Although, it did get my bird-averse 
> sister to start liking looking at birds.) It's becoming a powerful tool for 
> traveling birders to use all over the world. Currently, it only has photos, 
> maps, and information for the areas I mentioned above. But, it already can 
> give you a list of the most likely birds you will see anywhere on earth. 
> Well, anywhere there are eBird checklists. But, every eBird checklist you put 
> in from some exotic locale helps the program refine its results and improve 
> the accuracy of its predictions. And, every photo you upload to an eBird 
> checklist from a foreign location gets Merlin closer to being able to 
> identify that species from photos, and closer to having photos available in 
> the app. 
> Latin America has an avid and active birding presence, so we can expect big 
> strides there in the near future. But, it also has the most diverse and 
> complex suite of birds on the planet, so, that's a hurdle. I personally hope 
> that southern and eastern Europe will be covered completely soon (I have a 
> trip there scheduled in late June), but it seems that India is going to jump 
> ahead in the line ahead of other expected regions.
> Indian birders have enthusiastically embraced eBird the last couple of years, 
> and they're pumping sightings and photos into the database. I spoke to 
> someone in Oregon at the bird festival I was attending (Winter Wings) who was 
> from India. He wanted to show me his photos from birding in India (very 
> nice), and I told him to put them into checklists in eBird because every 
> photo uploaded for a species (especially good ones like his) put Merin a step 
> closer to getting the identification program to being able to ID it, but also 
> that every photo gets the bird guide portion closer to being able to offer it 
> to the regular folks. He responded that he thought that was awesome, and that 
> he knew that the people in the bird clubs in India would be excited to 
> contribute.
> So, as New Yorkers say, Excelsior! Ever upward! Honestly, I've been birding 
> since the lat 1960s and early 1970s, about 50 years. There has never been 
> such a great time to be a birder as right now. You can get spectacular 
> binoculars and scopes for relatively cheap. Birding references are abundant 
> (including the courses I've created at 
> You can find out almost 
> real-time information about what rare birds are where. You have information 
> on your phone about what birds are likely anywhere on earth, and you can 
> actually have your phone make a tentative identification from a photo you 
> took with that phone. As he said in the Princess Bride, "Inconceivable!" We 
> may very well be living in the best of all conceivable worlds.
> Kevin
> Ithaca, NY
> Learn More About Birds with These Courses | Bird Academy ...
> Learn More About Birds with These Courses. Broaden your understanding of 
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> From: 
> <> on behalf of Carol Keeler 
> <>
> Sent: Friday, April 20, 2018 6:58 PM
> Subject: [cayugabirds-l] Fox Sparrows
> I now have 2 Fox Sparrows!  They’ve been here for two days now. I had one 
> about five years ago which stayed for minutes.  I don’t get great numbers of 
> birds like you do in the Ithaca area.  I’m delighted.
> I also just had a flock of Cedar Waxwings sitting in a tall maple.  Now and 
> then they would hawk insects .  
> Sent from my iPad
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