About Rare Bird and Needs Alerts

Two types of alerts are available from eBird and there are links to each on the Ohio “home” page and on each county page in this website. But what is the difference and how do you use each?

Rare Bird Alert
eBird Rare Bird Alert for Ohio
The Rare Bird Alert shows observations of rare birds in the state or county. It includes both unreviewed and reviewed observations over the last 7 days. The report notifies you about any unusual bird that has been reported. It provides a link to the location and to the checklist so you can get more information about the sighting and make the critical call as to whether you want to try to see the bird. In addition to viewing the alert through this website, you have the option to subscribe to an hourly or daily email report of the rare birds.

The Rare Bird Alert works in conjunction with the regional eBird checklist filters. Every time a record is entered in eBird, the location and date of the sighting is run against a list of expected maximum counts for each species in the area. If the number of birds in the sighting exceeds those expected counts, you receive the eBird confirmation message (always a sign that you have found a good bird!), asking you to confirm your entry. These records are then confirmed by our volunteer expert reviewers. The checklist filters define what constitutes a “rare bird” in a region by highlighting any species (or subspecies) with the count limit set to zero, and those are the reports featured in the Rare Bird Alerts. These Alerts include not only out-of-range birds, but also unseasonal sightings.

The Rare Bird Alert does not compare the birds with your personal list, so it may show you birds that you have already seen.

Needs Alert (birds you have not seen in Ohio)
Never SeenNot Seen This Year
The Needs Alert is personalized, using the lists that you have in eBird. The alert lists species you have not personally recorded in the selected region. Once you report a species from that region in eBird, that species will no longer appear on this alert (even if it is a rare). This is designed to deliver information particularly tailored to birds that you have not seen (either all time, or within the current year). The alert builds a custom list of birds that you “need” for the region. The word “need” is used loosely here to mean a species that you have not seen in the county or state. Needs Alerts are powerful in that they show the species that you need for that region all-time or for this year alone. They cover species that wouldn’t trip the Rare Bird Alert.

Like the Rare Bird Alert, the report contains birds seen in the last 7 days and you can view the report from this website or subscribe to receive an hourly or daily email report.

In order to see the reports for either type of alert, you must be signed in to your eBird account.