How Can I Share My Bird Photos With the Cornell Lab?

digital photo wall showcasing Macaulay Library
Once you add a photo to an eBird checklist, it will appear in the Macaulay Library.

We’re constantly thankful that people share so many wonderful images with us. If you’ve taken some photos and want other bird enthusiasts to see them, there are several ways to share them with us:

If you use eBird, you can add photos and sound to your checklists to verify notable birds or just to show off a picture or bird you’re particularly proud of. Note that photos can only be shared on eBird if they are attached to a checklist, which means they must be taken at the same time and in the same location as the checklist. This media is then viewable by other eBird users through our eBird/Macaulay Library media search function.

By uploading photos to eBird checklists, users agree to make them available to the Cornell Lab for use in various projects like illustrating species accounts on All About Birds, Birds of the World, and eBird. eBird checklists and photos also power the Cornell Lab’s Merlin Bird ID app that can identify over 10,000 species thanks to members of the public who submit checklists. Photos train Merlin Photo ID, which is part of the Merlin Bird ID app—that means your photo may help millions of people around the world identify birds!

Ways to Share Photos Through Other Cornell Lab Projects

Cornell Lab projects also run photo-related contests and challenges. Project FeederWatch often holds their BirdSpotter photo contest during the winter. The Great Backyard Bird Count also has photo sharing as part of their weekend event in February.

Have Questions About A Photo, like “What Bird is This?”

What if you’ve got a question about a photo but you don’t want to share it with others? You can always send pictures for ID and other questions to the Cornell Lab: We’ll do our best to answer—and we won’t share your photo without your permission.

An even easier way to identify a bird in a photo is to download the Merlin Bird ID app and use the app’s Photo ID tool. This tool can identify more than 8,000 species by analyzing an uploaded photo. It’s easy to use—open the app on your phone, upload your photo to the app, and presto! It will help identify the bird in your photo without sharing it with others.

The Cornell Lab

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Need Bird ID Help? Try Merlin