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Rate photos

Ratings and tags are critical for increasing the utility of Macaulay Library for all users. They are used by the media search to return useful results, and they enable the best images and audio to be discovered and used in applications such as illustrated checklists, Merlin, Birds of North America, and Neotropical Birds. This additional information will only become more important with time as additional research and education projects rely on Macaulay Library assets.

You can rate your own images when you upload to eBird or any image that you can find in the Macaulay Library search. We use a 5-star rating system, with 5 stars being the highest quality. Rate the quality of the image, not the quality of the bird or the observation. A great photo of a common, drab bird should still be 5 stars. When rating, please consider the upload guidelines. To rate sound recordings, please see the audio rating guidelines.

Rating factors

Sharpness: Is the primary subject in focus? Is the image blurred or grainy?

Visibility of bird: How well can you see the bird? For example, downrate if the bird is very small, partially obstructed from view, or backlit.

Size of photo: Downrate any photo that has a noticeably small resolution. When possible, photos should be at least 1600 pixels on the long side.

Watermarks: Downrate 1-4 stars depending on the size and obtrusiveness of the watermark.

Automatic one star: Composite photos, back-of-camera, photos with obtrusive graphics or extreme editing.

Flocks: Rate flocks based on the quality of the image rather than the visibility of any individual birds. Is the flock in focus, well lit, and the overall image of high resolution?

Quality rating examples

5 Star

4 Star

3 Star

2 Star

1 Star