FAQs

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology houses eBird (your online birding database + birding tools) and the Macaulay Library (the multimedia archive) and by creating an account with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology account you will have free access to all of the Lab’s resources. Click here to create an account, it’s free.

From the sign-in or register page, click Forgot username? Enter your email address. If we have your email address on file, we will send you an email with login details.

Yes. The Cornell Lab is committed to keeping resources in the Macaulay Library and eBird free for all contributors.

We expect the transition to take 6-8 months. In the interim, the current IBC site will remain active and you will be able to access the site as usual. We are working on a process in which users should not experience a gap in service. We will inform users of the transition progress and carefully track issues that may arise.

The transition is not mandatory, but we hope you will join us. The goal of this collaboration is to shift the entire IBC collection over to the Macaulay Library, and transition IBC contributors into the eBird/Macaulay Library suite of tools moving forward. At the end of this process, Lynx will retire the current version of the IBC. We hope to work closely and carefully to transition every IBC user over successfully. If you choose not to opt-in to this transition, your media uploaded to the current IBC will no longer be accessible online. It will not be transferred to the Macaulay Library or be available via the IBC. We hope you do not choose this path and look forward to working with you to ease the transition.

The Lab’s media licensing agreement states that the contributor retains the copyright to each piece of contributed media and that the Lab cannot sell your media to a third party for commercial use without explicit permission from the contributor. The Cornell Lab can use your media for education, conservation, and research to fulfill its mission. In order to transfer your media in IBC to the Macaulay Library, you must agree to the licensing agreement by filling out this form. Even if you are already an eBird user, you’ll need to re-sign the agreement so that it applies to your IBC media. In the future when you first add an image using the Media Upload tool with your eBird checklist, you will also be prompted to accept the license agreement. The agreement must be accepted in order to add images using this tool. Read the complete agreement here

The IBC follows the taxonomy in the Handbook of the Birds of the World (HBW) and BirdLife International Checklist of the Birds of the World. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology follows Clements. During the transition, we will apply the Clements taxonomy to your observations, which will result in some name changes, but we have painstakingly matched species from the two taxonomies so your observations won’t be lost. Every “species” in HBW will have a corresponding taxonomic entity in the Clements.

If you opted-in, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology will email you when the transition is complete. You will be able to access your media by clicking My Media to the right of the search bar when you are signed into your Cornell Lab account. The Macaulay Library is your permanent archive, providing you with secure cloud storage of all your media. You may download your original file at any time.  

eBird is a real-time, online checklist program that has revolutionized the way that the birding community reports and accesses information about birds. Launched in 2002 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, eBird provides rich data sources for basic information on bird abundance and distribution at a variety of spatial and temporal scales. A checklist is the foundation of eBird records and includes information such as location, time, date, and the number of each species you saw on your outings. These data are critical to better understand bird distribution across the western hemisphere and beyond. Hence every time you have media to share, we’d like to also know when and where you saw that bird to make the most out of the data. In this way, all of your media will also be tied to an eBird checklist, so you can keep better track of your media. Learn more about eBird and get started today

Uploading media to your eBird checklist is as easy as drag and drop. Learn more

Learn all about eBird in our free self-paced eBird Essentials course. In this course, you will learn everything you need to know to get started using eBird.

Whether you’re capturing bird sounds with a smartphone or a more advanced system, the Macaulay Library encourages you to create .WAV files when you’re recording. WAV is the standard audio format used at the Macaulay Library, the Library of Congress, the British Library, Indiana University, and other sound archives dedicated to the long-term preservation of audio. WAV is an uncompressed audio format that provides an accurate copy of wildlife sounds. By recording in the WAV format, you will maximize the usefulness of your recordings for research and conservation both today and in the future. Learn more 

Contributions to the Macaulay Library should be an accurate copy of an original field recording. This means doing a minimal amount of editing to sound files. We suggest following these 8 simple steps: 1. Save copies of your original sound files; 2. Create and submit .WAV files; 3. Trim the ends of recording; 4. Boost the volume (normalize); 5. Group recordings of the same bird together; 6. Keep it continuous; 7. Append voice announcements; 8. Avoid filters and cosmetic editing. Learn more including step-by-step tutorials


Upload photos for both rare and common species
Crop and edit your images before uploading, but try not to over-crop or over-edit
Upload your full-resolution images, as long as they are JPG and under 10 MB each
Refrain from adding a watermark or other text to your images
Add comments, metadata, and rate your photo after you upload it
Please don’t upload composite images or back-of-camera photos
Upload multiple photos (up to 10 per species), but only if they are sufficiently different
Photos must be your own and adhere to the media licensing agreement
Learn more 

Yes, IBC users who have uploaded video in the past will have exclusive permission to upload videos with eBird checklists. Look for more details on video uploads soon.

No, by filling out this form, your My Birding records will be brought over and merged into eBird when that process begins.

After we transfer the media from IBC to ML, we will go through a secondary process of identifying probable duplicate media/sightings. The details of this remain to be worked out, but for the moment, do not scramble to delete these duplicates yourself. We anticipate developing a technical solution to this problem.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology will manage the IBC/HBW domain names going forward. We are committed to ensuring a smooth transition process and we will provide redirects from HBW species pages to the matching eBird species pages for at least a few years, provided the taxonomy matches for the species in question. We will provide redirects from specific IBC media to specific ML media for most instances. Note that your IBC media has both a descriptive URL and an asset ID URL (a shorter, numeric code towards the bottom of the IBC media page in the form of https://www.hbw.com/ibc/XXXXXX). When linking to your media, please use the second, shorter URL. We also recommend that you replace these links with their updated Cornell Lab of Ornithology links at your soonest convenience.