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North American Bird Phenology Program

Observer Card Transcription

Welcome to the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center North American Bird Phenology Program. This is the online bird observation card transcription system. Here volunteers worldwide (including you) take scanned images of historic bird migration cards and transcribe the information into our database. The Bird Phenology Program houses six million records of migration arrival and departure times. Once cards are transcribed into the database the information can be analyzed, revealing changes in migratory bird patterns.

All participants must be registered in order to do transcriptions and contribute to this program. Registration is easy, just Become a Participant.

Questions about transcribing? Check out our new FAQ sheet.

If you have any trouble registering to become a participant, would like to help scan cards at our office, or have further questions, please contact:

Jessica Zelt
Bird Phenology Program Coordinator
Phone: (301) 497-5745
Fax: (301) 497- 5694

The Bird Phenology Program is run almost entirely by volunteers and our progress is a direct result of your efforts. We greatly appreciate your involvement and enthusiasm for the program. To see the progress and results of the BPP, please visit the pages below.

To see which records have been scanned and transcribed, please visit the Data & Stats page.

To see publications and works in progress please visit the Research Results page.

Transcription Process:

Step 1: Enter your Username and Password using the login panel on the left side of the screen and click the Login button. After login, the transcription form will appear, and a card remaining to be transcribed will be retrieved from the card archive and displayed on the screen in the upper left-hand corner.

If the card is upside down, you can rotate it by clicking the button above the card image.

Step 2: Transcribe the contents of the card into the appropriate fields below and to the right of the card. It's ok to leave fields blank—most cards will have data for only some of the fields. Also, be aware that there are several different card variants, so be careful reading the card image to ensure the data ends up in the proper fields.

Type what you see on the card. We have found through experimentation that a good technique to use is to try to type what you think someone else would enter. If you have a problem with legibility, mark this card as a problem card and click the Submit button. You can also just get a different card by clicking the Skip this Card button on the left panel.

Step 3: When you have finished transcribing the contents of the card, click the Submit button to add the transcription to the database. The next card to be transcribed will automatically appear once you press the Submit button.

Step 4: To conclude your transcription session, click the Quit Transcribing button on the left panel. You will be returned to the login screen.

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Page Last Modified: 12/09/2008 2:55pm