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

Data Wrangling With eBird – Part 1

I am planning a trip to Cottonwood, Arizona during the last week of April, 2014 for the Verde Valley Birding Festival. This is an area that is north of Phoenix and south of Flagstaff. It is not included in the American Birding Association’s Birdfinding Guide to Southeast Arizona. Can eBird help me with what kind of birds to expect then? The answer is “Yes”. This post is a tutorial of how to get eBird data into a spreadsheet so you can do just that for the last week of April in Yavapai County, Arizona. In Part 1 we will just get the data into the spreadsheet. In future Parts we will explore some of the possibities of what can be done with this data.

By now I am sure many of you have at least heard about eBird, a Citizen Science project. It is an online database of bird sightings from around the world contributed by birders of all skills. Last year, eBird reached a milestone of over 100 million sightings!!!

If you don’t already contribute to this effort, you should consider it. It is quite easy. You can contribute at their website at or through an app like BirdLog or you can convert data from your existing sightings database with whatever listing software you are using. A lot of online help for this is available.

Ebird has a surprising amount of research value on their website. A birder can get “live” maps for a specific species, a bar chart of abundance for a list of species for a number of different geographical areas, or even line graphs showing abundance of a species by season. It is fun stuff!

But eBird data wrangling? What is that? Basically it is just a fun term for getting data out of eBird into a format that you can use for research on your own. But can’t you just get the bird list for Yavapai County, Arizona from eBird without using a spreadsheet? Well, sort of. What you actually get will be a list of species with bar charts for the entire month of April. The online resource does not drill down any further. But you can get every week of the year inside the spreadsheet we’re about to create!

This post assumes you are somewhat familiar with 1) Microsoft Excel (or some spreadsheet that can read Excel—I am using LibreOffice Calc in this example) and 2) eBird.

Ready? Ok. Here we go. Get online with your favorite browser and go to the website, Click on the tab that says “Explore Data”.

01 eBird Explore tab Continue reading