Jump to content
Whatbird Community

eBird reporting question


PaulK

Recommended Posts

Hi, I'm wondering about how to accurately represent the local birds in my eBird reports for my neighbourhood. On a daily basis I have bushtits outside my home, but almost never see them when I'm out recording a list. I worry that the omission gives a false representation of the bird life in the area. The same goes for Anna's hummingbirds, as I see them on a daily basis but only occasionally while birding. I'm sitting here listening to a pile of blackbirds, but again don't see them much. I'm wondering if there's (1) a problem here, (2) if I need to worry about it even if there's a problem, and (3) if there's a solution, like should I be adding incidental lists to "correct" the record?

Relatedly, if there's a common bird that I don't see, should I put a 0 for that bird in my lists?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

22 minutes ago, PaulK said:

Hi, I'm wondering about how to accurately represent the local birds in my eBird reports for my neighbourhood. On a daily basis I have bushtits outside my home, but almost never see them when I'm out recording a list. I worry that the omission gives a false representation of the bird life in the area. The same goes for Anna's hummingbirds, as I see them on a daily basis but only occasionally while birding. I'm sitting here listening to a pile of blackbirds, but again don't see them much. I'm wondering if there's (1) a problem here, (2) if I need to worry about it even if there's a problem, and (3) if there's a solution, like should I be adding incidental lists to "correct" the record?

Relatedly, if there's a common bird that I don't see, should I put a 0 for that bird in my lists?

The only reason I can think of to put a "0" bird in the list is if it a list that is not shared with someone you were birding with, but you didn't see it. You could start doing eBird checklists of the birds outside your window. That is how I have kept my daily streak going. If I can't get out, I'll do a quick 5-minute checklist of my sticking my head out the door and listening.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 minutes ago, Avery said:

The only reason I can think of to put a "0" bird in the list is if it a list that is not shared with someone you were birding with, but you didn't see it. You could start doing eBird checklists of the birds outside your window. That is how I have kept my daily streak going. If I can't get out, I'll do a quick 5-minute checklist of my sticking my head out the door and listening.

I report dead birds as 0s, and if there is a rare bird that I didn't see, I'll put it down as zero to let others know that it didn't show that day.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There’s no problem, as eBird wants only the birds seen/heard within a particular time period for a particular area/distance.

There’s plenty of birds in my community that I know are there, and if I waited or looked long enough I’d see them eventually but rarely do all of them ever make it onto one list. 
I bird 3 areas usually daily. Ones my yard, ones a park across the street and ones a ravine across the street from both the park and my yard (technically a bit further). 
My yard lists lately never get much above 5 or 6 species. The park never gets much above 6 or 7 species, while the ravine usually is 9-12 species. Yet, they’re all right beside each other. And theoretically, this time of year there should be about 20 species encompassing all those areas. 
Usually I’ll do a checklist in my yard if I notice something notable, or if there’s a bird that hasn’t been reported and would otherwise be omitted from the weekly data bars. 
I wouldn’t worry about it. 

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

49 minutes ago, Connor Cochrane said:

I report dead birds as 0s, and if there is a rare bird that I didn't see, I'll put it down as zero to let others know that it didn't show that day.

Doesn’t eBird not want reports of dead birds at all?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with doing checklists from home. You could do a 15-minute observation every so often and send that in. Anything rare or unusual I do an incidental list if I don't have time to do a full observation.

Knowing that certain species show up around your home but not in your birding spots is useful information.

It has never occurred to me to record a 0 count on a species. I've done it when my phone pocket-reports species I didn't really see, but I noticed it shows up on the list as 0 observed, so instead I delete the number and the species doesn't show up on the list at all. I'm not sure what the value would be of reporting 0 observed if it doesn't mean the same thing to everyone.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

28 minutes ago, Aveschapines said:

a 15-minute observation

Most of my lists are short ones like this! I think that's why I'm so aware of missing species.

Re the 0, it just seems funny to me that if they want complete lists so they know when birds aren't present etc. that there isn't really an established mechanism for that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 minutes ago, PaulK said:

Most of my lists are short ones like this! I think that's why I'm so aware of missing species.

Re the 0, it just seems funny to me that if they want complete lists so they know when birds aren't present etc. that there isn't really an established mechanism for that.

Why would you list birds that aren't present? Isn't every bird not on the list presumed not present (or at least not detected by the observer)? I really don't understand the purpose of listing the birds you didn't see, and especially how one would decide WHICH birds that weren't observed should be reported as not present???

Adding a thought: it's my understanding that the reason we are encouraged to report all species observed when possible is so that the list can be taken to represent all of the species in the area during the observation period, while incomplete lists don't. So it seems to me like that fulfills the need to know what birds weren't observed (all the ones NOT on the checklist).

Edited by Aveschapines
Adding another thought
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 minutes ago, PaulK said:

Most of my lists are short ones like this! I think that's why I'm so aware of missing species.

Just to be sure it was clear, I was suggesting that if you go out birding and then see some species at home you didn't see while you were out, you could do a 15-minute observation at home to include the additional species. Or just do the home lists a couple of times a week or whatever works for you so the usual species will be well-reported.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

35 minutes ago, Aveschapines said:

Just to be sure it was clear, I was suggesting that if you go out birding and then see some species at home you didn't see while you were out, you could do a 15-minute observation at home to include the additional species. Or just do the home lists a couple of times a week or whatever works for you so the usual species will be well-reported.

That makes sense, thank you!

Re the other, it's more a question of whether it's important to note when a regular species isn't present. E.g. where I usually go to look there's a little duck pond that has ducks in it 90% of the time, but there are days when they aren't there, so maybe it's valuable to understand they're not present (i.e. that's one area they are rather than a continuous home). I'm sure I'm overthinking this!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, PaulK said:

That makes sense, thank you!

Re the other, it's more a question of whether it's important to note when a regular species isn't present. E.g. where I usually go to look there's a little duck pond that has ducks in it 90% of the time, but there are days when they aren't there, so maybe it's valuable to understand they're not present (i.e. that's one area they are rather than a continuous home). I'm sure I'm overthinking this!

I think so! If it's not on your list, it wasn't there. If it's on 90% of your lists, it's probably there about 90% of the time. I don't see what reporting 0 seen adds that the simple absence of the bird on the list doesn't. 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

A tangential [apologies] observation/question about reporting certain dead birds:  After any hurricane (and I would imagine after other natural disasters, snow/ice storms, fires), there are usually abundant dead birds.   I would think a post-disaster census of the dead and injured species would be incredibly important information.

Edited by floraphile
typo
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, floraphile said:

A tangential [apologies] observation/question about reporting certain dead birds:  After any hurricane (and I would imagine after other natural disasters, snow/ice storms, fires), there are usually abundant dead birds.   I would think a post-disaster census of the dead and injured species would be incredibly important information.

 

A89F3BDC-F15A-4DAE-B7F0-DB34E3EA1B9A.png

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 minutes ago, Avery said:

 

A89F3BDC-F15A-4DAE-B7F0-DB34E3EA1B9A.png

Hi, @Avery--I am aware of that rule, hence my post.  But, in actuality (and in accordance with their statements in the above), the information gathered would likely be more accurate and precise if not tallied by ebirders but by educated & trained scientists.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

52 minutes ago, Connor Cochrane said:

Most people I know, including reviewers , will use 0 for a dead bird, then write dead in the comments.

Ok, good to know. 
 

 

1 hour ago, floraphile said:

Hi, @Avery--I am aware of that rule, hence my post.  But, in actuality (and in accordance with their statements in the above), the information gathered would likely be more accurate and precise if not tallied by ebirders but by educated & trained scientists.  

Yes. I think that’s why eBird doesn’t want that data mixed in, as the data needs some different parameters. I have actually found a dead hermit thrush once, froze it, and gave it to a nature organization, and they wanted me to supply some specific info. Also, I think with ocean birds, who knows how far out the bird was when it died, and in what direction. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm late to the party but I'm with the majority.  If you're seeing so many species in your backyard that you aren't seeing 'while birding', then bird in your backyard.  I submit at least one list a week from my yard, more in the winter when it's too cold to get out and my feeders are mobbed.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 3/3/2021 at 4:53 PM, floraphile said:

Hi, @Avery--I am aware of that rule, hence my post.  But, in actuality (and in accordance with their statements in the above), the information gathered would likely be more accurate and precise if not tallied by ebirders but by educated & trained scientists.  

One issue with that data is that storm-killed birds are not in their native locations.  Dead pelagics reported on an SC beach might give the false impression those birds were normally found there.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I bird at home most of the time, and my lists are for a day in almost all instances.  I think time of year is more important, for presence of a bird, than time of day, so if I see a hummingbird by the house on my way out to the garden, or see an owl while I'm checking the mail, they go on my day list.  It doesn't seem necessary to put multiple lists in for the same location, on the same day.  The birds are present, if you saw them at the feeder, before you technically start birding.  Again, my situation may be different than most, because I spend most days around my house, garden, woods, feeding area, etc...  

Edited by Michelle Summers
Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, Charlie Spencer said:

Are you submitting these 'day lists' as Incidentals?  

Thanks!

No, because I'm quite literally outside almost all day, watching and listening for who is present, as I go about my work, taking breaks to sit and observe behavior and less vocal birds in my feeding/water feature area.

 

I use incidental for times like I'm driving down the highway, spot a bird that I need for a county, stop and document, where I don't take the time to discern all of the birds in the area.

Edited by Michelle Summers
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...
On 3/3/2021 at 10:16 AM, PaulK said:

if there's a common bird that I don't see, should I put a 0 for that bird in my lists?

No. There is only one acceptable use for zero individuals on a checklist and that is to report the atlas code of UN when one did not detect that species on the checklist.

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 3/6/2021 at 10:25 AM, Michelle Summers said:

No, because I'm quite literally outside almost all day, watching and listening for who is present, as I go about my work, taking breaks to sit and observe behavior and less vocal birds in my feeding/water feature area.

Complete Checklists and Birding as Your Primary Purpose : Help Center (ebird.org)

Pro Tip: We recommend keeping Traveling checklists under 5 miles (8 km) and Stationary checklists under 3 hours for your sightings to make the biggest impact for science. However, limiting your checklists to less than one hour or one mile provides even more checklist precision!

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...