What a great way to have our own VT Birding Pal network - all for the sake of 'citizen science'.. I hope I get to meet and put a lot of names to faces this year.
> Date: Fri, 4 Feb 2011 20:58:47 -0500
> From: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [VTBIRD] Northern Hawk Owl Report from Belvidere
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Hi Charlotte!
> Well, you've heard from a great number of birders today...I hope that you
> have gained some idea of how important, and easy, it is to post your
> sightings on ebird. If you need any further help with eBird please contact
> I am also planning on birding in Franklin Co. sometime this year, and would
> enjoy meeting up with you. I'm planning to take my backyard birding around
> the state. My goal is to go birding in every county before the end of the
> year. Of course, I will need the help of people like you who love to bird
> and know the best places to go around your home.
> Happy eBirding,
> Moretown village
> On Fri, Feb 4, 2011 at 7:03 PM, Ken Copenhaver <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > Hi Charlotte,
> > I'm sure others, like Kent McFarland, could answer your eBird concerns
> > better than I can, but I would say that you are worrying too much about the
> > details!
> > 1. Counting birds: The eBird website has advice for reporting numbers as
> > opposed to X for "present" where they stress that a best guess estimate is
> > better than an X. When numbers and trends are studied in bulk, the
> > difference between 130 vs 131 snow buntings (or even 140) is insignificant.
> > If a large flock of birds flies overhead, it's difficult for most people
> > (without a lot of practice) to get within 20% of the actual number. Even
> > getting an exact count on a group of chickadees is difficult when they keep
> > moving around and all are not visible at the same time. I think a best
> > guess
> > is OK. Two people walking the same trail at the same time could get
> > different counts on many birds depending on their hearing, eyesight,
> > optics,
> > and identification abilities (both by eye and ear). The inexactness of
> > "citizen science" is offset by shear volume of data. When aggregating
> > hundreds of lists and thousands of birds, the errors cancel out to some
> > extent, and a guess is better than no data at all.
> > 2. Location: The difference between one end or the other of a mile-long
> > road or trail is insignificant when analyzing data by county, for instance.
> > After all, most birds could fly that distance in a short time and could be
> > counted at one end of the road one time and at the other end an hour later.
> > It doesn't make a bit of difference. However, if it matters to you which
> > end of the road you saw a bird, you can enter it as two points for your
> > records, but that's a personal choice. For example, two of the trails at
> > Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge are right across the road from each
> > other. I have entered these trails as 2 locations on eBird, and even if I
> > birds both trails on the same day, I report them separately. Other people
> > might report everything they see on the whole refuge (all 6500 acres) as
> > one
> > location. I think either way is OK. It's up to the eBirder.
> > Disclaimer: These are my opinions only. I can't speak for the scientific
> > community using the data. I hope Kent McFarland will respond with his
> > perspective.
> > Ken Copenhaver
> > Fairfax VT