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VTBIRD  November 2014

VTBIRD November 2014

Subject:

Re: Important upgrades in the eBird submission process

From:

Veer Frost <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Vermont Birds <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 1 Nov 2014 11:08:30 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (102 lines)

sorry, it's unclear in my post that I am saying YES to the big red box query! about reporting all species.

---- On Sat, 01 Nov 2014 11:06:42 -0700 Veer Frost&lt;[log in to unmask]&gt; wrote ---- 

I have been submitting my still present Carolina Wren sightings, although twice I only heard the song (right outside my window); in the latter case I said YES as I wasn't trying to find birds at that moment. Should such 'by ear' instances be reported as 'incidental'? Thank you! Veer 
---- On Wed, 15 Oct 2014 07:27:57 -0700 Kent McFarland&amp;lt;[log in to unmask]&amp;gt; wrote ---- 
 
Hi Birders, 
 
We wanted to alert all of you to some changes that have been made on eBird 
in the data submission process. You might have noticed recently three 
changes in the eBird submission process. 
 
(a) There is now a "historical" category added to the list of types of 
observations. It is for observations for which effort measures are not 
available. This is for use by birders putting into eBird their records 
from years before there was eBird, and often those effort measures (number 
of observers, duration, distance, and/or area) were not documented in those 
days. Providing the "historical" category simplifies eBird data for its 
major analytical purposes. 
 
(b) When you select "incidental" as your type of observation, eBird 
automatically selects “No” for the question about "complete checklists". 
Thus you no longer can have a checklist that is both "incidental" and 
"complete". This resolves a common misunderstanding about what an 
"incidental" checklist is. 
 
(c) And, if you submit a checklist with only one species and select "Yes" 
for the question"Are you submitting a complete checklist of the birds you 
were able to identify?" a big red box appears and asks you if it really is 
a complete checklist. 
 
The big red box question states: 
 
"You have reported fewer than five taxa on a complete checklist of birds. 
Answering 'yes' to 'Are you reporting all species?' implies that an effort 
was made to record all species present, not just highlight species. Please 
confirm that you understand this question or change it to 'no' if it was 
not an effort to record all species present." 
 
{The reference to five taxa is a typo and will soon be changed to say "one 
species"} 
 
The "complete checklist" question is very important in the application of 
eBird records in many analyses and applications of the data. For example, 
any questions about which birds are common and which rare requires that 
there is an effort to record all species detectable. It extends to all 
checklists, not just those with a single species. 
 
The lists of species are based on the observer putting in some effort to 
record all species that they were able to identify by sight and/or sound. 
 "Identify" means to name the species, or use a category such as 
Lesser/Greater Scaup, Larus sp., dabbling duck, etc. as provided by eBird. 
 
However, eBird has discovered that the Yes/No question was widely 
misunderstood and incorrectly answered. For example, they discovered that 
tens of thousands of checklists recorded as "complete" for a Snowy Owl, or 
other charismatic uncommon species, contained only that one species and 
none of the other surrounding birds ... even if other species were in 
photographs submitted. This really made a mess of the data and rendered 
them generally unusable for the basic eBird analyses. 
 
Thus, to answer "Yes, this is a complete checklist" you should have "made 
an effort to record all species present." In practice this means to record 
all the birds you were able to detect by the common methods used by the 
birding community, and to identify them to species or group as noted above. 
 
Also, thankfully, it does not mean that specialized methods such as mist 
netting, baiting, calling, stationary cameras, radar, etc. are necessary. 
It also does not mean that you must spend any certain amount of time, cover 
any specific acreage, travel a standard distance or increase the number of 
observers .... since the effort measures capture all the variety of 
everyday birding outings, and make the eBird data we all collect useful for 
countless analyses locally and worldwide. 
 
Thanks for your contributions to eBird. 
 
Kent McFarland and the county coordinators at Vermont eBird 
 
Special thanks to county coordinator Ian Worley for getting this 
information together. 
____________________________ 
 
Kent McFarland 
Vermont Center for Ecostudies 
PO Box 420 | Norwich, Vermont 05055 
802.649.1431 x2 
 
 
 
 
____________________________________ 
Veer Frost, Passumpsic (NEK) 





____________________________________
And I know my work is good. Not everybody likes it, that's fine. I don't do it for everybody. Or anybody. I do it because I can't not do it. Maurice Sendak
Dwell in the Essential. I Ching

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