Search Help

How to Explore the New, Expanded Macaulay Library

With the creation of the new eBird/Macaulay Library media upload tool, there are now two bodies of media archived at the Macaulay Library (ML): bird photos and audio recordings that have been uploaded to eBird checklists, and audio and video recordings that make up the traditional ML archive. To help you explore this incredible collection of audio, video, and photos, we now have two different search tools to use—the eBird/ML Media Search and the Macaulay Library Search Box. These two searches do somewhat different things, so to help you find what you’re looking for, here is a summary of the features of each:

eBird/ML Media Search


  • Constantly updated to show the most recently-uploaded audio and photos from around the world, plus the latest avian output from the ML archival team
  • Includes all photos and audio uploaded to eBird, plus all bird audio and video from the traditional ML archive
  • Searches all rich media (audio, video, and photos) or a single format of your choice
  • Geographic searches can be performed at the country, state/province/department, county, or eBird hotspot level
  • Custom date filters allow for searches from specific months and/or years
  • Audio recordings all have a scrolling spectrogram during playback
  • Includes links to eBird checklists and ML specimen pages
  • Search results are viewable as a gallery, grid, or list

If you’re a birder who wants to explore the latest bird media from your favorite local hotspots or from around the world, plus have access to all of the bird recordings in the traditional ML archive, the eBird/ML Media Search is the thing for you!

Macaulay Library Search Box


  • Searches all audio and video recordings in the traditional ML archive
  • Includes bird, mammal, amphibian, reptile, fish, insect, and environmental recordings
  • Searches both audio and video, or a single format of your choice
  • Individual ML catalog numbers, or catalog number ranges, are searchable
  • Search results are downloadable in a spreadsheet format
  • Displays all recordings that may be requested for research, educational, conservation, artistic, or commercial use

If you’re interested in animals other than birds, or if you’re looking to request audio or video recordings from the traditional ML archive, you should use the Macaulay Library Search Box. See below for more details on how to get the best results from the Macaulay Library Search Box.

How to explore the traditional archive with the Macaulay Library Search Box

results2Audio results above, video below.

When you use the Macaulay Library Search Box for the first time, the default setting is “All Media,” and an initial search will return four high-quality audio recordings and four high-quality video recordings. If, for example, you then decide that you want to focus on video recordings, simply select the “More Video Archive” link to show all video recordings that match your search.

Do you know exactly which species you want?

sapsucker_searchIf you are interested in a particular species, such as Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, type the species name in our search box and select it from the dropdown list.

If you know the general type of bird that you’re looking for, but not an exact species name, you can enter the general type of bird and the dropdown list will show you the different options available. For example, typing “sapsucker” in the search box will result in a dropdown list of the four species of sapsuckers, and then you can select one. Searching this way will allow you to find only the subjects that contain the name you were looking for. For example, searching for “woodpecker” will return Downy Woodpecker and Hairy Woodpecker, but not Yellow-bellied Sapsucker or Northern Flicker.

It is also possible to search for recordings from an entire family of birds. To search for all woodpecker recordings, type “woodpeckers” in the search box, and then select “Picidae — Woodpeckers” to see all of our woodpecker recordings.

If the species you want is not getting a match, double-check your spelling and make sure the name you are searching for is the current name for this species.

Are you looking for something other than birds?

mammals2The main focus of the Macaulay Library is birds, but we also have an extensive collection of recordings of other animals–more than 30,000 audio and video recordings of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fishes, and insects.

It is also possible to search for Environmental Recordings. Examples of audio Environmental Recordings include “Mixed Species Colony”“Thunderstorm” and “Dawn Chorus”. Most Environmental Recordings contain subtitles that will help you choose the right recording on the search results page.

Do you want to search for one or more ML catalog numbers?

59958_searchThe ML search box can also be used to search for specific ML catalog numbers. If you have a catalog number of interest, type that number into the search box, then select it from the drop-down list that appears. It is also possible to search for a range of catalog numbers, such as 59958-59964, or a list of catalog numbers (97903, 56760, 53438, 30000, 54077). In each case, it is important to select the option that appears in the drop-down list.

Would you like to do a more refined search?

To view our Advanced Search options, click the “+” button to the right of the search box or click here. The Advanced Search page expands your search criteria, including, but not limited to, behaviors, locality information, recordist, and quality. These search criteria can also be used together to create more detailed searches. Are you interested in knowing how many audio recordings Ted Parker made in Peru? Or are you looking for high-quality video recordings of singing North American warblers? These searches, and many others, are easily done on the Advanced Search page.

Would you like to download your search results as a spreadsheet?

spreadsheetIt’s easy to download extensive metadata in a spreadsheet after conducting a search by clicking the page icon above the search results. Or, on the Advanced Search page, select “Spreadsheet” from the Output drop-down list in the “Search Results” section before conducting the search.

Do the results of your search appear incomplete?

If you are using the Advanced Search page and conducting multiple searches, make sure that you clear your “breadcrumbs” after each search. Otherwise, it is possible that you could inadvertently conduct a search with two or more unrelated search criteria, resulting in zero results for that search. The breadcrumbs are located at the top of the search results page.