Macro trends? What??!!? Haha. I will get to that in a moment. It’s been a month since I last posted here. Sorry. In that month I drove from Colorado to Virginia for the Eastern Shore Birding Festival. I had a great time in Cape Charles, VA. I drove home to Ohio and worked for a week and then headed back south to North Carolina’s Outer Banks for the Wings Over Water Festival. It was a terrific week packed full of fun events and lots of birding. I worked last week and my schedule finally caught up with me. I was down a couple days with a cold. Ok. I still have a cold but I’m functional…sort of. When I finish this week I will drive to Massachusetts for Athol Bird and Nature Club meeting and some New England winter birds.
Greetings from Nebraska! I’m en route to Brighton, CO for the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory’s BBQ with the Birds on October 5, 2013. I just had a great weekend at Pt. Pelee with the Ontario Field Ornithologists. More on that in another blog.
Previously I posted 2014 Target Birds 1-10 & 11-20 & 21-30. Today we will look at 31-40. These represent the most commonly reported birds in Panama in late January in eBird. I am using what eBird refers to as Frequency of Checklists. This is a number that uses the total number of checklists that have a particular species checked divided by the total number of checklists submitted. It is the percent of checklists that have reported this species. eBird data was accessed on 8/26/2013 to retrieve this list. Late January? Yes. This is to coincide with Wildside Nature Tours trip Panama Canal Zone and Pipeline Road Birding with Greg Miller, January 18-25. Ready for those target birds? Here we go:
Most Frequently Reported Birds in Panama for late January #31-40
Do you have a nemesis bird (or two)? Did you ever wish for a list of species with “Best Bets” for location & timing? Well. Here it is–the long-awaited Species breakdown for the Impatient Birder. The Top 10 Best Bets for over 900 species are listed in 6 PDF documents–they are split into 50-page segments. These documents are free for download. (but they are fairly large)
Purple Swamphen. STA-5 in South Florida. Big O Birding Festival. March 2013. Photo by Greg Miller
Previously I posted 2014 Target Birds 1-10 & 11-20. Today we will look at 21-30. These represent the most commonly reported birds in Panama in late January in eBird. I am using what eBird refers to as Frequency of Checklists. This is a number that uses the total number of checklists that have a particular species checked divided by the total number of checklists submitted. It is the percent of checklists that have reported this species. eBird data was accessed on 8/26/2013 to retrieve this list. Late January? Yes. This is to coincide with Wildside Nature Tours trip Panama Canal Zone and Pipeline Road Birding with Greg Miller, January 18-25. Ready for those target birds? Here we go:
Most Frequently Reported Birds in Panama for late January #21-30
I hope you enjoyed the Top 10 Most Frequently Reported Birds in Panama in late January that I posted last week. Again, I am using eBird data for the entire country of Panama, the last 2 weeks for all years. There is not a ton of data, but it is way better than nothing! I am using data I collected July 13, 2013 (last month). And all of this is preparation for my trip to Panama January 18-25 with Wildside Nature Tours. You can sign up for the trip and come birding in Central America with me at this link: Panama Canal Zone and Pipeline Road Birding with Greg Miller
As I said before, some of Panama’s most common birds are birds that you will recognize from North America. Like this one:
Brown Pelican in flight – South Texas Coast – Dec 2012. Photo by Greg Miller
Uh-oh. A little bit–ok, A LOT–of eBird geeky stuff lies ahead…
I spent the last few days wrangling some eBird data for the state of Ohio. I processed year list data for 10 individual years, 2003 through 2012. What comes next is me…tinkering with data I downloaded from http://ebird.org on 6/26/2013. eBird is a Citizen Science online project containing over 100 million bird sightings worldwide. And it is growing every day. eBird allows ordinary birders to enter their bird sightings online and stores them in a database. I downloaded data from this database into spreadsheets to create the final report available as a free download below in .PDF format.
A total of 32,307 checklists were submitted to eBird for the state of Ohio in the 5 years 2003 through 2007 representing 339 species. For 2008 through 2012, 97,837 checklists were submitted to eBird for the state of Ohio and a total of 357 species were recorded. The combined total number of species for the 10-year period 2003-2012 was 368 species of birds.
Of the 368 species, 274 species were recorded in each of the 10 years between 2003-2012. In fact 28 species were reported in every week for the entire 10-year period.
Of the 368 species reported, 241 showed an increase in % of checklists. In other words, about two thirds of these species were reported on a higher proportion of checklists in the second 5-year period than in the first 5-year period. Some of this may be attributed to the large increase in the number of checklists between the periods. But 127 species showed a decrease despite three times the number of checklists in 2008-2012.
The 10-year Difficulty Code is a number derived using the logarithm of the percent of checklists for a species for the entire 10-year period. So a Code 1 species is up to 10 times more common than a Code 2 bird. Likewise, a Code 2 bird is up to 10 times more common than a Code 3 bird. That same Code 3 bird is up to 100 times less common than a Code 1 bird. And when “common” is used, it isn’t true abundance. First, frequency of checklists is only the percent of checklists on which a species is checked as seen. Also, this represents what is submitted to eBird. Not everyone uses eBird so the data that exists there is but a sample of reality. Still, over 100,000 checklists represents a body of data that is quite superior to “I am pretty sure there are a lot less Canvasbacks in Ohio. I don’t see as many as I used to.”
I just finished this report and have not had much time to review it yet. But, I was so excited about it that I decided to make it available for others to look at it. I hope you find it as interesting as I did.
Tax Seq: Taxonomical Sequence 2003-2007 Rank: 5-yr ranking for 2003 through 2007 2008-2012 Rank: 5-yr ranking for 2008 through 2012 Chg in Rank: Change in ranking positions from 2003-2007 to 2008-2012 10-yr Diff Code: Difficulty Code for 2003-2012 as reported in eBird % of checklists submitted; 1 is most common; 2 is up to 10x less common than 1; 3 is up to 10x less common than 2, and so on Species Name: Species Name 2003-2007 % of Checklists: total number of checklists for a species submitted to eBird during 2003-2007 divided by the grand total number of checklists submitted 2008-2012 % of Checklists: total number of checklists for a species submitted to eBird during 2003-2007 divided by the grand total number of checklists submitted Actual Change: the difference between the two 5-yr % of checklists % Change: the rate of change as a percentage from the first 5-yr period to the second 5-yr period 2003-2007 Weeks Reported: number of weeks a species was reported in eBird 2003-2007 2008-2012 Weeks Reported: number of weeks a species was reported in eBird 2008-2012 2003-2012 Years Reported: number of years a species was reported in eBird 2003-2012
Kirtland's Warbler. Biggest Week 2012. Photo by Greg Miller
Northwest Ohio in May is…for the birds. No really. It is a very birdy place. It has been my favorite place to visit on the North American continent in May for more than 30 years. And I cannot wait to go back there again this May. It is home to one of the most amazing displays of bird migration. There are many migration hot spots in the East. Your home state probably has a few good areas. And maybe you have ticked all 37 species of eastern wood warblers that occur here in Northwest Ohio, seen all the thrushes, tanagers, buntings, and orioles (and many, many more species). So why visit Biggest Week? Aren't there huge crowds of people? Isn't it hard to find lodging and places to eat? Can't I see all those birds somewhere else? Even if you have all these birds, you should visit this area of Northwest Ohio at least once in your life and experience it for yourself. Yes. There are huge crowds. But with a little planning and patience, your experience should still be unforgettable–even if you don't enjoy big crowds. For lodging and food you should also plan ahead or you will find yourself 30 minutes (or more) away from the comforts and conveniences “civilization”.
Scarlet Tanager. Biggest Week 2012. Photo by Greg Miller
Packing up this morning (3/11/2013) for an early morning departure for Ft. Myers, FL. I will be a keynote speaker, classroom presenter, and field guide for the 2013 Big “O” Birding Festival on the southwest shores of Lake Okeechobee in Florida. Florida? Again? Oooooh, yeaaaah!!! Gonna see some kites (and many other cool birds) like these guys:
Swallow-tailed Kite in flight – near Lake Okeechobee FL – 2012-04-22 photo by Greg Miller
Snail Kite adult male hunting- near Lake Okeechobee FL – 2012-04-22 photo by Greg Miller
What a nice weekend in North Bend State Park near Cairo, WV! I got a chance to bird with this friendly group Saturday, March 9, 2013. I spoke to them Saturday evening and then we watched the movie, The Big Year. This morning (Sunday) I got a chance to visit local feeders there to see a real treat, Evening Grosbeaks!
Evening Grosbeaks with a female in flight – Cairo WV – 2013-03-10 photo by Greg Miller
Winding out my Florida trip after the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival was over, I tried once again for some of the rare birds that were still around. The bananaquit had not been seen in the last 2 weeks, but the western spindalis was still sporadically being reported from Virginia Key near Miami, FL. Although unsuccessful again with the spindalis, the bonus bird was a nice adult dark morph Short-tailed Hawk. Returning in late afternoon to Green Cay in Boynton Beach, FL, I was successful with the La Sagra’s Flycatcher. Not only did I get to hear it call, but I got to see it in fading light, perched and fairly well hidden behind quite an array of branches and leaves. Unfortunately, not a one of my photos turned out very well. None are presented here. But the Short-tailed Hawk? Ah. Well. That was quite rewarding as this species goes. It is often seen flying at quite a height or you just catch a glimpse as it zooms overhead at treetop level hunting the treetops for small birds.
Short-tailed Hawk adult dark morph above treeline – Virginia Key – near Key Biscayne, FL – 2013-01-30 photo by Greg Miller
Short-tailed Hawk adult dark morph overhead showing whiter patches in underwing – Virginia Key – near Key Biscayne FL – 2013-01-30 photo by Greg Miller