Biggest Week in American Birding Warbler Cheat Sheet

This data is taken from eBird, a Citizen Science project to collect birders’ checklist data from around the world for use by researchers and scientists.  Data in this chart was accessed on 3/18/2014 from ebird.org.  The data is for all of the month of May [only] and is for all years (1900-2013).  The cheat sheet is for Northwest Ohio including the counties of Erie, Ottawa, and Lucas.  Even though this chart covers the whole month of May, it can still be used as a guideline for Biggest Week this year which occurs from May 6-15, 2014.  Check out the main festival site here: http://www.biggestweekinamericanbirding.com/.

The first column is taxonomical sequence.  The second column is a difficulty rank based on the highest number of individual birds per checklist for a specific species for May in the Biggest Week area.  The lower the difficulty number, the easier the bird is to see (more birds per checklist).  Likewise, the higher the difficulty number, the harder that species is to see.  The third column is the week in May in which that species peaks–reaches its maximum value for birds per checklist. Column 4 is the species common name.  Column 5 is the actual maximum value of birds per checklist that a species achieves in May in the 3-county area.  Column 6 is like column 3 but is specific to actual day (as opposed to week of the month).  The last column is the average number of checklists submitted during May in the 3-county area to see 1 (one) individual bird.  This is calculated by taking the reciprocal of the peak value of abundance (birds per checklist).  For example, Ovenbird reaches a peak of 0.480 birds per checklist.  So 1 divided by 0.480 equals 2.0833 [checklists to see 1 bird].  But since a fraction remains I add 1 to it to get to 3 checklists to see 1 bird.  Got it?  Good.

Tax Difficulty Week Species

Highest # birds/chklst

Peak Abundance Day

Avg # Chklsts to see 1

1

20

2

Ovenbird

0.480

13-May

3

2

30

1

Worm-eating Warbler

0.098

5-May

11

3

35

2

Louisiana Waterthrush

0.057

13-May

18

4

23

2

Northern Waterthrush

0.373

13-May

3

5

25

1

Blue-winged Warbler

0.189

1-May

6

6

26

2

Golden-winged Warbler

0.156

10-May

7

7

15

2

Black-and-white Warbler

0.785

13-May

2

8

19

3

Prothonotary Warbler

0.500

21-May

2

9

17

3

Tennessee Warbler

0.643

19-May

2

10

31

1

Orange-crowned Warbler

0.083

1-May

12

11

9

1

Nashville Warbler

1.251

2-May

1

12

32

4

Connecticut Warbler

0.075

22-May

14

13

22

3

Mourning Warbler

0.395

19-May

3

14

33

1

Kentucky Warbler

0.067

2-May

15

15

6

3

Common Yellowthroat

1.787

19-May

1

16

24

1

Hooded Warbler

0.203

4-May

5

17

4

4

American Redstart

3.538

23-May

1

18

36

2

Kirtland’s Warbler

0.041

14-May

25

19

21

2

Cape May Warbler

0.469

12-May

3

20

27

1

Cerulean Warbler

0.125

4-May

8

21

18

3

Northern Parula

0.614

15-May

2

22

5

3

Magnolia Warbler

3.096

19-May

1

23

11

2

Bay-breasted Warbler

1.002

14-May

1

24

16

2

Blackburnian Warbler

0.723

13-May

2

25

2

3

Yellow Warbler

4.654

20-May

1

26

8

3

Chestnut-sided Warbler

1.450

19-May

1

27

10

4

Blackpoll Warbler

1.239

23-May

1

28

14

3

Black-throated Blue Warbler

0.940

18-May

2

29

3

1

Palm Warbler

4.177

1-May

1

30

28

1

Pine Warbler

0.110

1-May

10

31

1

1

Yellow-rumped Warbler

15.177

1-May

1

32

37

2

Yellow-throated Warbler

0.020

10-May

50

33

34

1

Prairie Warbler

0.059

2-May

17

34

7

1

Black-throated Green Warbler

1.563

1-May

1

35

12

4

Canada Warbler

0.970

22-May

1

36

13

4

Wilson’s Warbler

0.970

22-May

1

37

29

4

Yellow-breasted Chat

0.105

31-May

10

 

North American Birding Macro Trends – November

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.

Have I forgotten about Panama in January?  No.  I have not.  In fact, there are still several openings available.  You should consider coming along with me (and Wildside Nature Tours) to the Tropics during January!  More information can be found here: Panama Canal Zone and Pipeline Road Birding with Greg Miller, January 18-25, 2014.

North America Macro Trends - Nov 1-7 - eBird - 1900-2012 as of 2013-02-22

North America Macro Trends – Nov 1-7 – eBird – 1900-2012 as of 2013-02-22

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2014 Panama Target Birds 31-40

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

31. Streaked Flycatcher
32. Red-legged Honeycreeper
33. Cocoa Woodcreeper
34. House Wren
35. Gray-headed Chachalaca
36. Wattled Jacana
37. Western Slaty-Antshrike
38. Blue Dacnis
39. Gartered Trogon
40. Little Blue Heron

2013 Impatient Birders Guide to North America – Species Top 10s

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.

Purple Swamphen. STA-5 in South Florida. Big O Birding Festival. March 2013. Photo by Greg Miller

Impatient Birders Guide to North America -  Species Top 10s -  part 1

Impatient Birders Guide to North America – Species Top 10s – part 2

Impatient Birders Guide to North America – Species Top 10s – part 3

Impatient Birders Guide to North America – Species Top 10s – part 4

Impatient Birders Guide to North America – Species Top 10s – part 5

Impatient Birders Guide to North America – Species Top 10s – part 6 Continue reading

2014 Panama Target Birds 11-20

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

Brown Pelican in flight – South Texas Coast – Dec 2012. Photo by Greg Miller

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2013 Impatient Birder’s Mini-Almanac to North America!

Here is part 2 of a series I am working on for rolled up eBird data from all the States and Provinces for North America from 1900 through 2012.  A few days ago I introduced the 2013 Impatient Birder’s Cheat Sheet to North America.  It was a list of species counts by State and Province (with corresponding month & week).  I wanted to have something that gave me an idea of when the best time to go birding was for each State and Province.  Pretty cool stuff.  So cool I decided to share it with everybody…for free.  See my previous post for this brief, but information-filled table in PDF format.

Today, I am introducing the follow up report using the same data.  The previous one listed species counts by State and Province.  It is good for planning travel to those areas.  But what if you are an impatient birder like me?  And you have a very limited schedule so you might not be able to take off all those spring dates which happen to be most of the “best” times listed in the previous post.  Sigh.  Such is the time-crunched day and age in which we live.  Enter this new document, the 2013 Impatient Birder’s Mini-Almanac to North America.  This is a list of the top places to go birding by month & week of the year.

2013 Impatient Birders Mini-Almanac to North America Continue reading

2013 Impatient Birder’s Cheat Sheet to North America!

It is now ready!  What?  The 2013 Impatient Birder’s Cheat Sheet to North America!  Umm.  What is that?  And why should anyone be excited?  Well, on a cold day in February in Sugarcreek, Ohio, some guy got a hair-brained idea to download eBird data from every State in the Lower 48 States–and every Province in Canada–and Alaska.  Then he tinkered with the data for the next 6 months in his spare time with nearly 6 million checklists.  The result of all this?  Well.  The first information to really come out of this that may be useful to other birders is the 2013 Impatient Birder’s Cheat Sheet to North America.  It is a roll up of all this data at the State and Province level in a handy, little 3-page format.  Use it to plan where you want to go birding!  I will explain.

2013 Impatient Birders Cheat Sheet to North America

Checklists Submitted:

From January of 1900 through December of 2012, birders submitted 159,869 checklists
into the eBird database.

Total Species:

The total number of species recorded in eBird from January 1900 through December
of 2012.  Note that this number is filtered using the ABA Checklist v7.4 (from the American Birding Association http://aba.org).  For Ohio, a total of 402 species have been reported to eBird.

Total Species (>=2%):

The total number of species recorded in eBird from January 1900 through December
of 2012 that have a Frequency of Checklists value greater than or equal to 2%.  The
eBird Frequency of Checklists represents the number of checklists reporting a species divided by the total number of checklists.  Say, for a bobolink, it is the percent of the total number of checklists that reported a bobolink.  For Ohio, the number of species reported that have a percent of checklists value of 2% or more is 230.

Best Week for Total Species:

This column is a month_wk#.  EBird splits each month into 4 weeks.  So an eBird year
is only 48 weeks.  The 1st week represents days 1-7, 2nd week is 8-14, 3rd week is  15-21, and the last week is the 22nd through the end of the month.  So the peak weak
for total number of species recorded in Ohio (from 1900-2012) is April_wk4.  But, of course, you can’t come to Ohio and realistically expect to see over 300 species of birds.  But this does give you and idea of the trend of the number of species reported over time.

Species Count for Best Week:

This is the maximum number of species recorded for any week of the year in Ohio and corresponds with the previous column for month and week.  A total of 302 species have been recorded in the 4th week of April in Ohio.  That is about 75% of all the birds recorded in eBird for Ohio.  Again, one cannot expect to see 300 species of birds if they spend a  week in Ohio during the 4th week of April.  But what can be expected? (this is why there is
more data!)

Best Week for >=2% Species:

Remember the Frequency of Checklists described before?  This is the peak time when the number of species meeting the 2% or more of checklists criteria is recorded. This is May week 1 for Ohio.  This is a much better number for a one week trip to Ohio.  Why 2%?  It is completely arbitrary.  If you are a good birder or you have local information you number could be higher.  If you birding is more limited and you do not get out as much
your numbers may be lower.  According to eBird data, your best bet for a trip to Ohio should be May week 1.

Species Count for >=2% Best Week:

This is roughly the number of species an average birder on a week-long birding trip could see.  Again, your numbers may vary but this at least gives you an idea of what to expect.  The very best part of this is that the same measure is used for all the states and provinces.  Of course, you need to think about the size of the area–birding all of Alaska or
Texas or Ontario would be right out.  The area is just too large to cover in a week.  But, this is the best measure this amateur researcher could come up with in his spare time.  Enjoy!

It is completely free for download in PDF format.  I did the research for myself and figured there may be a few other birders (like maybe 5…or 12 folks, or so) who might be interested as well.  Here it is:

2013 Impatient Birders Cheat Sheet to North America

 

Is the Bobolink in Trouble in Ohio?

Bobolink

Bobolink photo: USFWS

What is black and yellow and white, flies over 12,000 miles per year, and weighs a little more than 3 Oreo Cookies?  A Bobolink!.  The bobolink is a strikingly beautiful bird with a really cool song that nests in grassy fields in Ohio.  But for how long?  It is still easy to see here.  But, is it in trouble?

Bobolink Abundance by Decade in Ohio

Bobolink Abundance in Ohio by Decade. Data from eBird 1900-2012 as of 8/16/2013.

The above chart paints a sad picture for the status of the bobolink in Ohio.  But is this really true?  Has the bobolink declined in numbers by over 80% since the 1980s?  You be the judge.  I discuss this data (caution–lots of data and discussion ahead–like 18 pages worth of discussion).

You can find out more about the bobolink in this handy dandy .pdf file:

Bobolink in Trouble in Ohio

 

Data Wrangling with eBird – Part 3

Please.  Oh, please.  Not another post with geeky, nerdy, techno-garble!  Yes.  Another one.  Relax.  I will get back to different material soon.  I just want to finish what I started here–and that is how to use eBird to help plan the birding portion of my trip to Valley Verde Birding Festival next spring.  Oh, sure.  I can just print off last year’s bird list.  But that won’t tell me much about which of those birds is the most likely to be seen.  That is where eBird is an absolute treasure trove of information!

In the first tutorial I showed you how to get data out of eBird and into a spreadsheet.  In Part 2 I showed you how to clean up the data and highlight the expected species for the 4th week of April in Yavapai County, Arizona.  In Part 3 I want to show you how to list the 25 most common birds for my upcoming trip.  Ready?  Here we go.

First, open up the spreadsheet we’ve been working on.  Now add a new sheet to the workbook.  I am using the spreadsheet LibreOffice Calc.  Just click on the little “+” sign at the bottom:

01 spreadsheet insert a new sheet Continue reading

Data Wrangling With eBird – Part 2

In my previous post I made a tutorial how to get data out of eBird and into a spreadsheet.  With the intent of using eBird to plan a trip to the Verde Valley Birding Festival in Cottonwood, AZ during the last week of April.  This tutorial will give the first steps in how to find out what species to expect on the upcoming trip.  Let’s get started.

Look at #1.  The number shown is 375.  But if you remember when we were downloading this information it only had 342 species, right?  Where did the extra species come from?  Ah, I am glad you asked.  Look at #2.  See the “(Domestic type)”?  Yeah.  That counts as “taxa”, but not as a species.  First on our list will be cleaning up our spreadsheet and filtering out the non species.

01 spreadsheet Continue reading