Winter surveys - Incidental observations
Because species will inevitably be missed during the timed surveys, and because birding cannot always be fit neatly into one hour blocks, we are also interested in incidental observations from any time you go birding. These could include birds seen before or after a timed survey, birds seen while birding for less than a full hour, birds seen while birding for purposes other than the atlas, or birds just seen while going about your business.
Incidental observations are especially important if you find a bird that has not already been reported in your block during the early-winter (Nov-Dec) or late-winter (Jan-Feb) because we want to obtain complete species lists for each block during each of these two periods. Incidental records can be submitted via eBird or the Incidental Winter Observation Form. Do not include these birds in the lists on the timed survey form.
When you submit incidental observations it is important to provide a location – and the more precise the location the better: ideally a latitude and longitude for the place where the species was seen (instructions on how to provide this information are here). For incidental records, we do not need a count of the number of individuals, although you are welcome to provide one, especially if the number is unusual.
Sensitive species: If you feel birds may be harmed by revealing their location (e.g., roosting owls), then either submit the data on a paper form so that it is entered into the atlas database without going through eBird, or submit it via eBird but hide the record (details on how to do that are here).