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CBC vent


millipede

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I have such a good birding area near me, I really want to have a CBC here but there just isn't enough people willing to commit to it. Which is frustrating.  There are two CBC circles in my area that are a good half an hour away(or more, depending on which part of a circle) and then nothing else for over an hour.
That's not what I'm here to vent about though... 

The Fayetteville CBC has been going on for MANY years now but I chose to participate in a different one that, I think this is their second year, maybe third but I'm not sure.
When I told the compiler that I wanted to participate(we really just don't have enough birders that either know about or want to get out and do this?) he simply told me some street names on a map(kind of vague) basically a square within the circle and said that was mine. Just mine. Birding alone. I wonder if I was the only one that birded a whole section alone. I know that's not how the Fayetteville count works.
Okay... so, I did that. I birded that area... BUT... while I was there, I visited two hotspots that were just outside my given area. I wanted to see certain winter birds(ducks mostly) and I knew I'd get a few good birds there just for fun.
So when I submitted my data, I made an eBird trip report putting the 4 checklists I did from within my square... But I also passed along info from the other two spots, in case I had higher numbers or different species than those people had seen. In a way, it's a good thing I went to the fish hatchery because the group that visited there(officially) reported a snow goose but what was there was a Ross's. I told one lady to double check her photos(she hadn't posted them) and, I was right. They had seen a Ross's goose.

Anyway, the compiler recently sent out the report to everyone to see if we saw any mistakes.  Ross's goose wasn't even on there yet. But that lady that had her pictures replied. And numbers seemed off, just my glancing at the list.
When I reached out to mention it, he was confused. Then he also explained he just wanted the data from my square, and nothing else because the other spots were not assigned to me.
They had a total of 9 bufflehead for the ENTIRE count... when I saw 45... but, that was 40 at the hatchery, and 5 at moberly pond... both outside of my designated area.

I personally would think a compiler would welcome extra data to boost the numbers and give a better representation of what we actually have at these locations. But, I wasn't assigned those spots so the data is irrelevant?  I don't understand. I feel frustrated. So, I vent. HA.
I did email him and say if that's all he wanted, so be it.

But, I think it's weird. And there was quite a few species where I had higher numbers...
Oh well I guess.
Sorry for the rambling... I just had to type out my frustrations somewhere.

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On all the counts I have participated in everyone is expected to count only in their assigned area. If you happen to see something rare or unusual in another count area you can record it in case the group covering that area didn't see it; but if the official group saw the species the other sighting isn't recorded for the CBC, even if the numbers were different. (Of course you can add anything like this to your personal eBird checklist, you just wouldn't share it with the count.)

There are VERY specific instructions to be followed for CBC's and it's important to follow them exactly to preserve the scientific validity of the data.

Also, running a CBC requires a major committment of time  and effort. I believe you have to commit to at least 5 consecutive counts, and the expectation is that they will continue indefinitely, because the information is only valuable if it's collected each year. There is a lot of work necessary both before and after the count to register and submit the data. It takes a lot of dedication and work well beyond the fun of going out on the count day.

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On the count closest to me, most of the effort is concentrated on a public park that covers less than 10% of the circle.  When I receive the annual reminder, I reply to the coordinator asking If it's okay for me to count elsewhere.  I specify the areas and boundaries I'd like to visit.  Usually he approves.

Since everyone else is over at the park, I bird these locations by myself.  Unlike birding for a personal checklist or GBBC, I stick strictly to the CBC rule of counting only within the boundaries of my assignment.  If it's across the street, I don't count it even if no one else is working that area.

Edited by Charlie Spencer
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I don't know my exact count, but I've done 20-25 CBC.  First one was with a partner, 3 others with 1-2 other people, 1 with a non-birder.  The rest I have done by myself.  I only bird outside of my area, after I am done with my area, and I don't count it in anything I provide.  The only exceptions are a lake the compiler has specifically asked me to separate my numbers, as it is right on the dividing line between two sections...and I've been asked to specifically check for Peregrine Falcon on the way home after I am done.  Also when it comes to Owling I would check first if anyone was checking an area I wasn't already assinged to.  

I wouldn't provide anything to the compiler unless they explicitly asked for it, or if I asked first if they wanted it.

 

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22 minutes ago, chipperatl said:

I don't know my exact count, but I've done 20-25 CBC.  First one was with a partner, 3 others with 1-2 other people, 1 with a non-birder.  The rest I have done by myself.  I only bird outside of my area, after I am done with my area, and I don't count it in anything I provide.  The only exceptions are a lake the compiler has specifically asked me to separate my numbers, as it is right on the dividing line between two sections...and I've been asked to specifically check for Peregrine Falcon on the way home after I am done.  Also when it comes to Owling I would check first if anyone was checking an area I wasn't already assinged to.  

I wouldn't provide anything to the compiler unless they explicitly asked for it, or if I asked first if they wanted it.

 

For flying birds, especially unusual ones, we record the exact time and direction of travel, and GPS coordinates, to be sure we aren't counting them twice. So if one group sees two Scarlet Macaws flying east to west and another group to the west sees two just afterwards, we assume it's the same two Macaws and don't count them again. 

Also these kinds of adjustments don't always happen on the count day or right afterwards; the organizers have to study and clean up the data, and sometimes decisions about conflicted species IDs, rare birds, and possible double counts are made much later.

I've never done a CBC alone, but sometimes I've been on count teams that are too big, in my opinion - more than 4 or 5 I think complicates things. The planners always try to put together teams that include someone very knowledgeable about count methods as team leader, someone very familiar with the area and skilled with IDing by sight and ear, and if possible someone with a good camera to document rare or difficult-to-identify species. They try to spread the beginners out so there is one or two at most per team. I was chosen as a team leader in one count this year (2022-23) and I was honored. I have been the record-keeper many times.

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