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Unconfirmed reports and ebirder status


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1 hour ago, Charlie Spencer said:

Wouldn’t leaving it blank tell them the same thing?

That’s my thought as well. I’ve seen people doing it on checklists and leaving zeroes for common birds that were absent. 

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Ah, this page says you may enter zero if you have observed the presence of a bird via a current nest (with or without eggs) but have not observed the bird itself. However, it is discouraged.

The mention of "feathers" on that page brings up another question: what if you witness the death of a bird, e.g. capture by a raptor? How does the individual of the predated species count? I assume it is dead and should not be included in the count of that species, but if it's the only one, perhaps 0 should be entered, especially if you have a photograph of the bird alive at some point? Is it Schrödinger's bird?

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38 minutes ago, Peromyscus said:

If you left it blank, it wouldn't show up in the county/state rare bird alert.

If you didn't see it, why would you want it to show up?  Why would anyone want alerted to what wasn't there?

Am I missing something about this whole thing?

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11 hours ago, chipperatl said:

The zero is an option to let others know bird was not seen.  It doesn’t count on any list.  I thought i read this was acceptable practice, but i see eBird officially says “don’t” do this.  

I am pretty sure it does, so you report 0 of something and it counts on the lists just the same. 

See following screen shots:

2022-05-11 07.38.28 ebird.org c928e42a2f6c.jpg

 

 

 

2022-05-11 07.38.48 ebird.org 4a59c3843373.jpg

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3 hours ago, Kevin said:

I am pretty sure it does, so you report 0 of something and it counts on the lists just the same. 

See following screen shots:

2022-05-11 07.38.28 ebird.org c928e42a2f6c.jpg

 

 

 

2022-05-11 07.38.48 ebird.org 4a59c3843373.jpg

I wonder if things have changed as I know I read somewhere that practice was acceptable, and it didn't make it on the list. I'm pretty sure I have a couple of checklists with a zero species on it.  

 

I checked and I have about 17 records of zero species, but when I look at say all my Common Gallinule sightings, the two I have for zero don't show up.  

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The only reason I could see someone putting a zero for a rare bird, would be to show that an effort was made to actually look for that bird, as sometimes people won't do a complete checklist if they're just looking for one specific species, or that it could separate their effort/checklist from other birders who may just be more causal observers or unaware that a rare bird is in the area. Yet, I don't understand it either... could easily just put in the checklist comments that "looked for this, didn't see it :(."

Only time I've put a zero is when I accidentally don't click the 2 when I'm trying to put in 20 and so forth. 

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1 hour ago, chipperatl said:

I checked and I have about 17 records of zero species, but when I look at say all my Common Gallinule sightings, the two I have for zero don't show up.  

That hummingbird nest I reported is unconfirmed. If you look at either of the photos, they show up like that. I wonder if that's their way of hiding the data for zeroes from various outputs?

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Zero definitely counts on your life, state, county list, etc. In my experience, there are two main types of people who use the "0" code when birding. People who make an earnest mistake or just simply don't understand how to use the code. Or, people who know exactly what they are doing and do it in a nuanced and dishonest way to add to their county, hotspot, big day, patch list, etc. I have seen this happen more times than I would like, and know a few people who favor this "trick." 

 

 

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Circling back to the original topic at hand. Top 100 rankings, hotspot rankings, and your individual birding reputation in general are all very different and complex topics which could easily have their own thread, IMO.

For example, when looking at my county's top 20 birders by number of species seen, there is a very wide variety of birders and skill levels. There are avian ecologists, people who have served on the California Bird Records Committee for decades, eBird reviewers, hotspot obligates, total unabashed stringers, stringers with actual skills but too much competitive energy, and almost everything in between. It takes observing your county's checklists and reporting data over time, along with running into many people in the field and getting to know some of them quite well in order to sort out who is who. What I can say unequivocally is that just because someone appears in the top ranking categories on eBird for your area or county, doesn't mean they are a skilled, good, or honest birder. It also doesn't necessarily mean the opposite. Generally speaking, your county eBird reviewer(s) have a good sense of whose reports are reliable, whose aren't, and who may need their sightings looked at a little more closely.

One thing that I used to tell young birders that I worked with is that you only get to craft your reputation in birding once. Essentially, pay attention to how you report things, document well (written documentation can be sufficient but not always), and if it's questionable, there is ZERO HARM in leaving the bird as a "slash" or "spuh." 

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@DLecy Very good advice. In fact, at the end of 2021, I looked at the county's top birders for the year, and it was clear that folks were separated into "tiers" due to significant gaps. You could easily see who was competitively twitching: following every rare bird/needs alert for the county as well as other groups and mailing lists and actually had the ability to go out on any day of the week, any hour of the day, in any weather, just to catch a glimpse of something unique. Below them, you could see the folks who were competitive but did not have the ability to go out on a whim, those who were noncompetitive and treated birdwatching as their biggest hobby, and those who preferred photography. Most of the folks I've met are enjoyable to engage with; very few bad apples, thankfully.

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1 hour ago, DLecy said:

Circling back to the original topic at hand. Top 100 rankings, hotspot rankings, and your individual birding reputation in general are all very different and complex topics which could easily have their own thread, IMO.

For example, when looking at my county's top 20 birders by number of species seen, there is a very wide variety of birders and skill levels. There are avian ecologists, people who have served on the California Bird Records Committee for decades, eBird reviewers, hotspot obligates, total unabashed stringers, stringers with actual skills but too much competitive energy, and almost everything in between. It takes observing your county's checklists and reporting data over time, along with running into many people in the field and getting to know some of them quite well in order to sort out who is who. What I can say unequivocally is that just because someone appears in the top ranking categories on eBird for your area or county, doesn't mean they are a skilled, good, or honest birder. It also doesn't necessarily mean the opposite. Generally speaking, your county eBird reviewer(s) have a good sense of whose reports are reliable, whose aren't, and who may need their sightings looked at a little more closely.

One thing that I used to tell young birders that I worked with is that you only get to craft your reputation in birding once. Essentially, pay attention to how you report things, document well (written documentation can be sufficient but not always), and if it's questionable, there is ZERO HARM in leaving the bird as a "slash" or "spuh." 

Thanks. I’ve actually been curious about what local birders actually think of my reputation. However, I really don’t think that’s a good thing to ask!😂

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11 minutes ago, Zoroark said:

Most of the folks I've met are enjoyable to engage with; very few bad apples, thankfully.

I totally agree.

I also tend to think of "Twitchers" and "Stringers" as distinctly different. Twitchers go out and chase everyone else's find. There is no real harm in this, and it's often times simply a product of someones family/age/job/income/employment status. I work 50-60 hours weeks and have a child under 2 at home, so by default, sometimes I end up "twitching" other birders' finds since I can only really bird in limited capacity these days, and only for significant amounts of time on the weekends. That being said, it is super satisfying to find your own rarity and share it with others versus chasing other peoples finds.

Stringers fall into many different categories and usually make up or fabricate their sightings on the coattails of rare finds by other birders. The reasons for doing so are highly variable. Some people do this strategically and maliciously, some people are just clueless, some are new to the hobby, some think their skill is better than it is in actuality, some find it necessary if they have traveled a long distance to see a bird and don't find it, and other people are well intentioned, but lack the requisite skills. There has been lots written elsewhere about the notorious birding "stringer." I have some really good stories on this topic, but that's for another time and thread.

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I confess to not knowing or much caring about my reputation with other birders.

I do care strongly about my reputation with that guy on the other side of the bathroom mirror.  I find that staying straight with him usually keeps me covered as far as everyone else is concerned.

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14 minutes ago, Charlie Spencer said:

I do care strongly about my reputation with that guy on the other side of the bathroom mirror.  I find that staying straight with him usually keeps me covered as far as everyone else is concerned.

That guy on the other side of my mirror is hard to figure out. Sometimes he's my best friend and other times he's my worst enemy. Sometimes he'll pat me on the back and make feel good about myself and other times he'll knock me down harder than my worst critics. He's always honest with me though, and because of that, it's his respect that I strive to achieve the most.

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6 hours ago, Charlie Spencer said:

I confess to not knowing or much caring about my reputation with other birders.

I do care strongly about my reputation with that guy on the other side of the bathroom mirror.  I find that staying straight with him usually keeps me covered as far as everyone else is concerned.

 

4 hours ago, lonestranger said:

That guy on the other side of my mirror is hard to figure out. Sometimes he's my best friend and other times he's my worst enemy. Sometimes he'll pat me on the back and make feel good about myself and other times he'll knock me down harder than my worst critics. He's always honest with me though, and because of that, it's his respect that I strive to achieve the most.

Why are you guys looking in the mirror.  There are birds out the windows to look at!!!!

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, chipperatl said:

Why are you guys looking in the mirror.  There are birds out the windows to look at!!!!

When you're as attractive as I am, it's hard to tear yourself away.  I wish the ladies could manage to stop staring; their sighs can be annoying sometimes.

Any Mac Davis fans out there?  :classic_wink:

Edited by Charlie Spencer
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43 minutes ago, Peromyscus said:

I was never hooked on Mac Davis.

Forget being "hooked" on him, I've never even heard of the guy. Of course the "newest" good looking celebrity I know of is Clint Walker. (shrugs) 

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