Thursday, December 10, 2009

Cool eBird Features

Photo by Terry Gray

The other day there was some chatter on IBLE about apparently low numbers of House Finches and White-crowned Sparrows.  While I haven't seen a slow down of finches at my feeder, I have not seen near the amount of White-crowned Sparrows as I did in early October.  I wondered if that was "normal" so I used eBird's "View and Explore Data" section of their website, then clicked on "Maps", entered "White-Crowned Sparrow".  It created a histogram and a map for North America for the years 2005-2009.  It shows a peak in observations in Sept-Oct, a second peak in December, and then a spring migration peak in May. (click on graphs to enlarge)

Then I clicked on "Change Location" and narrowed the results down to just Idaho.

It does appear that White-crowned Sparrows are observed a little less in November than they are in October.  The second peak in December in North America is interesting.  It could be that a different subspecies is coming through, or it could mean that more people are out observing in December for Christmas Bird Counts. 

This is just one example of the great information you can pull out of eBird.  One could narrow this report down further by date, by county, or even by one's personal birding location.  This example also conveys the importance of submitting bird observations to eBird on a regular basis so that we have good data to share.

1 comment:

  1. I am so excited to find another avid eBirder! I am obsessed with it and I am so glad you live in Idaho and submitt data from there. I see it is woefully under reported. I never used their "view and explore data" link until this year. Now I am hooked! I can get so lost in all this info. It makes it hard to get anything done around the house.