My Media and My eBird

The Macaulay Library Media Search is the best place to explore all of your photos, videos, and audio recordings in ML.

Sign in with your Cornell Lab username and password, which gives you access to the Macaulay Library, eBird, and other Cornell Lab programs. Then click on “My Media” to see all of your IBC media and any new media you’ve uploaded to eBird and ML. If you’d like to see your top-rated media, click on the “Recently Uploaded” link on the right side of the page and select “Best Quality.” The camera, speaker, and video camera icons on the left side of the page allow you to focus on a single media type. And the Location, Date, and More Filters options make it easy to narrow down a search even more.

From Media Search results, just click on a thumbnail or spectrogram to enter the “Lightbox View.”  In the lightbox you can see and rate media, view a concise data summary, and quickly scroll to your next piece of media by using the arrows on your keyboard or clicking the arrows on the screen.



From the Lightbox View, click on the Macaulay Library link to go to the “ML Specimen Page” for an individual asset. The ML Specimen Page offers the highest resolution view of your photos and videos, and displays the most complete data record for a piece of media.

My eBird is your personal eBird hub—the place where all of your checklists, listing totals, and media are displayed. In My eBird you can view and edit all of your observations, see your totals for from the county level to worldwide, manage your profile, and much more. My eBird is also the place where you can adjust your settings and preferences.

You can download a copy of your original media files by going to individual ML specimen pages and clicking the “Download original” link found below the media rating.

This “Download original” link only appears when you are signed in to your Cornell Lab account and on one of your ML specimen pages. Other members of the eBird community cannot download your media.

After signing in to the Macaulay Library Media Search and selecting My Media, a Save Spreadsheet option appears in the bottom right corner of the search area, providing quick access to a .csv file with all your ML data.

To download your eBird data, go to My eBird and select the “Download My Data” option on the right sidebar. When your data is ready, you will receive an email with a link to download all your personal eBird observations.

Managing Your ML Media and eBird Checklists after the IBC Migration

If you would like to change a location that is associated with a single checklist, the easiest way to do that is to select the “Edit location” button at the top of the checklist.

Visit the Help Center to learn more about how to select your location on the eBird website.

If you need to make a change to a location that is associated with many checklists, it is easier to use the “Manage My Locations” feature in eBird. Visit the Help Center for detailed instructions on how to use “Manage My Locations” to move or rename a personal location or merge it with an existing eBird hotspot.

As part of the IBC migration, the ML and eBird teams created a number of eBird personal locations for IBC contributors so that we could link IBC media to an eBird checklist—the foundation of our records. The creation of these locations was an essential part of archiving your IBC media. However, now that the IBC migration is complete, you can manage these personal locations using the tools described above.

Yes, it is easy to change the identification for an observation and associated media at the same time! Visit the Help Center for details on how to quickly change species (or subspecies group). 

IBC used the BirdLife/HBW taxonomy, which is fairly different from the eBird taxonomy. We carefully translated the names used by IBC/HBW to the names in eBird, but there are likely to be a few names that didn’t match up perfectly.

Don’t worry, your IBC subspecies information has not been lost. In cases where the new eBird scientific name in eBird/ML differs from the scientific name used in IBC, we added a note to the eBird checklist and ML data record noting the scientific name used in IBC.

For example, Josep del Hoyo identified the subject of one of his IBC videos as Alcedo atthis atthis. The eBird taxonomy does not recognize this subspecies as a field-identifiable form, but it does recognize a Common Kingfisher (Common) group Alcedo atthis [atthis Group] that includes the subspecies atthis and four other subspecies. The eBird taxonomy also recognizes a Common Kingfisher (Cobalt-eared) group Alcedo atthis hispidoides/salomonensis.

In the eBird checklist, and on the ML specimen page, the observation and video are identified as Alcedo atthis [atthis Group]. However, to document the original IBC identification, we included the following note in the Observation Details: “IBC scientific name: Alcedo atthis atthis.” This is our way of preserving Josep’s original subspecies information while also dealing with the two different taxonomies used by IBC and eBird/ML.

There are two different ways to check for duplicate media and checklists:

Go to My eBird, click “Download my Data,” and then sort by “Checklist Comments.” You should then be able to easily find your IBC checklists based on the fact that the Checklist Comments for IBC media all begin with the following note: “Historical checklist created by eBird/Macaulay Library from Internet Bird Collection media.”

Another option is to view thumbnails in the ML Search to visually find duplicates. We would recommend using the “List” view for search results so that after finding a duplicate media item, you can quickly click on the eBird checklist link and then delete the duplicate media item and/or the entire checklist.

If you want to remove duplicate checklist and media items, we encourage you to keep the highest-resolution version of the media file and the more complete checklist.  For audio recordings, if you uploaded a .WAV to ML and an .MP3 to IBC, please keep the .WAV version of your recording. If you need to compare the file size of two duplicate photos, this information is included in the “Technical Information” section of an ML specimen page, just below the Internet Bird Collection logo.

If the highest-resolution media file and most-complete checklist are not linked, you can download the highest-resolution file from one checklist and upload it to the more complete checklist. Or you can add sightings to the checklist that has the highest resolution versions and delete the other version after you have made the two checklists match.

Adding New Media to eBird and the Macaulay Library

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. 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 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.

Uploading media to your eBird checklist is as easy as dragging and dropping your media files. Learn how to add media to your eBird checklist here.

We encourage you to submit a complete checklist to eBird each time you go birding and collect audio, videos, and photos. A complete checklist is any eBird list where birding was your primary purpose, and you report every species you could identify to the best of your ability, by sight and/or sound.

However, we understand that sometimes it’s not possible to make a concerted effort to find and record all the birds at a given site, especially if you are focused on collecting audio, video, or photos. If you didn’t create an eBird checklist in the field, and don’t have the necessary information to create a complete checklist after the fact, you can create a “Historical” checklist to upload your media. Visit the Upload Historic Media page that contains guidelines on how to create a Historical checklist specifically for adding media.

Yes, IBC users who uploaded video in the past (prior to October 1, 2019) have permission to upload videos to their eBird checklists. The Macaulay Library website contains video upload guidelines and video recording tips.

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. More about .WAV Files 

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 about preparing audio including step-by-step tutorials

Additional Questions

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

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

The Cornell Lab’s media licensing agreement states that the contributor retains the copyright to each piece of contributed media and that the Cornell Lab cannot sell a contributor’s 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 the future when you first add a piece of media 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 media using this tool. Click to read the Cornell Lab licensing agreement

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.

IBC stopped accepting new media contributions on 31 December 2019, but the IBC website remains active. With the completion of the IBC migration to ML in late February 2020, the IBC website will be retired later in 2020.

The deadline to opt in to the IBC-to-ML migration was 31 December 2019. If you did not opt in to the IBC migration by that date, your IBC media were not transferred to the Macaulay Library in February 2020. If you have IBC media that you would like to contribute to ML, we encourage you to follow these guidelines for uploading historic media to ML.

The default ML Search results do not show media for captive birds, so if you contributed media of captive birds to IBC, this could explain the difference. However, it is possible to include Captive media in ML Search results by selecting “Other Filters” and then changing the Captive filter to “All.”