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New Specimen Pages and Expanded Advanced Search

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We are thrilled to announce two exciting updates to the Macaulay Library website- redesigned media specimen pages and expanded Advanced Search options– that will help users explore the 5+ million photos, audio recordings, and videos in the Macaulay Library archive. We hope that these new developments will make the Macaulay Library even more accessible and useful for birders and scientists.

Two years ago this week, eBird users began archiving photos and audio directly to the Macaulay Library (ML) by adding the media to checklists. Thanks to the contributions of tens of thousands of eBirders, the ML multimedia archive now contains over 5 million digital specimens—photos, audio, and video—representing more than 9,500 species of birds and thousands of other animal species. These resources have built new eBird tools like the Illustrated Checklist, form the backbone of the Merlin Bird ID app, and will be a crucial part of new innovation in the future.

New Specimen Pages

The new specimen pages have been completely redesigned to make media contributions look great on computer monitors, tablets, and mobile devices, while also making valuable information easy to find. See who contributed the media and link to their profile. Look at a map of where the media came from. Link to the Illustrated Checklist of birds for this region, and explore other media from this location. If the media is linked to an eBird checklist, you can get directly to the checklist. And if the media has additional information about age and sex, behaviors, or other details, it will be clearly visible on the specimen page, too.

In addition, you can now do the following on specimen pages:

  • Share your favorite ML images, videos, and audio—together with proper credits—on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and websites
  • Provide quality ratings, helping to curate the collection
  • Explore related media from the same species or, if applicable, from the same eBird checklist
  • Visit contributors’ eBird profile pages

On the specimen pages for your own personal photos and audio recordings, you can easily download copies of your original media files using the “Download Original” link that appears.

Expanded Advanced Search

Search for other animals in the collection

A constant stream of new eBird media uploads always makes the Macaulay Library Media Search page an interesting place to browse, but if you want to dive into the ML collection in more detail, there are lots of different ways to explore. If you’re interested in frogs, toads, dolphins, whales and other animals, click on the green “Birds” button and switch over to “All Animals” to explore audio and video of non-birds. If you’d like to peruse some of the thousands of ambient recordings in the ML archive, click on the More Filters dropdown and select the “Environmental” tag.

Use More Filters to Refine Your Searches

By using the Location, Date, and Contributor dropdowns in conjunction with the More Filters options, it’s possible to search for just about anything in the ML archive. Are you interested in listening to all of Ted Parker’s recordings of Gray-cowled Wood-Rail duets from Peru from 1982? No problem—the new search tools will help you find those recordings in no time. Do you want to enjoy all of the adult male Kirtland’s Warbler photographs taken in Michigan this year? Here’s the link to all of those photos. Are you looking for specific behaviors, or sounds, or the age and sex? Now you can filter your search by these details to see the media that has the rich information added about the bird, frog, or other animal contributors observed. And no matter how simple or complex your search, you can always download the data for your search results by clicking on the Save Spreadsheet icon after performing a search. 

And if you’re an ML aficionado who has memorized catalog numbers of your favorite recordings or photographs, it’s now possible to search for specific ML catalog numbers on the “More Filters” page.

Finally, the “More Filters” page also contains a great way to help make the ML media collection even better. If you click on the “No Rating” button, you will see the media in ML that lack quality ratings. Browsing through the results and adding quality ratings—after familiarizing yourself with quality rating guidelines—is a great way to help the best media contributions rise to the top and appear in Illustrated Checklists, Merlin, Neotropical Birds, and Birds of North America.