Fantasy birding is a game for armchair naturalists of all ages and interest levels. Like fantasy sports, it allows you to enter a variety of contests with other players, make moves over the course of a “season,” and earn points based on real-world results. Here those results are based on data from eBird, the world's largest citizen science biodiversity project, where some 400,000 birders have submitted over 30 million checklists.
Enter as many upcoming or ongoing contests as you want, or start your own and invite your friends. In the simplest games, such as the North American Big Year, the object is to record the most species within a designated timeframe and geographic area. In other games, you may earn points based on each bird's rarity or likelihood of occurrence.
Instead of drafting and trading players, the main moves you make will be choosing a location to visit each day. Weather forecasts and recent sightings will guide you in your planning, and you will earn points for all birds observed and reported near your current location. Strike a balance between checking in at reliable hotspots and chasing rarities in remote corners of the globe.
Log on each day to check the latest standings, find your opponents on the map, scan the hotline for rarities that have turned up in your area, and view an illustrated checklist of the most recent additions to your list. Optionally, test your skills by identifying your latest birds from images and audio recordings.