Ways for the community to help

Merlin Bird ID has been downloaded over a million times and provides thousands of bird identifications to students, naturalists and beginning birders across North America. We are working to expand Merlin to new regions, and there are many ways that you can help us expand to your region. Below is a list of ways you can contribute to increasing and improving the data that the Merlin Bird ID app relies on.

Submit your bird sightings

• Merlin relies on eBird sightings submitted by other birders to provide likely results for any location and date in the world. Each checklist you submit to eBird helps improve the data that is the source for much of what Merlin does. Submit your sightings.


• Upload photos spanning a broad range of plumages, postures, behaviors, quality, regional variation, etc to help train Photo ID (need >500 images per species). Photos can be uploaded through eBird checklists. View our current Most Wanted Photos.
• Upload magazine quality images you have taken for possible inclusion in the Merlin photo gallery for a species
• Community Ratings: Select a region, or a species, and add a rating to each photo. This helps our team choose feature images, helps in Photo ID training, etc. Rate photos.
• MerlinVision: Help us train the Photo ID models by drawing a box around a bird. Start boxing today!


• Upload 4&5 star audio for all species. The Macaulay Library team is very happy to assist with this, including recording gear recommendations, audio processing tips, best practices, etc.
• Reach out to other recordists you know with exemplar media that may be willing to archive their recordings in Macaulay Library.


• For each region we cover, we need ID text that provides the basic info that birders will need in the field to be confident of an ID. Get in touch with us if you, or someone you know, may be willing to contribute excellent ID text for species 

Range Maps

• We need range wide maps for each species we include in Merlin. If you have a source for GIS shape files, please put them in touch with us.
Contact us at merlinhelp@cornell.edu with any additional questions or comments!