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19274Re: Lewis' Woodpecker (MBD, eBird; a bit long)

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  • danbcr10
    Aug 1, 2014
      Mike, et al:

      Last year alone, Montana birders submitted no fewer than 99 checklists to eBird that included Lewis's Woodpecker. None of them east of Bozeman, unfortunately.  Three included "b" evidence (birds visiting probable nest site); 4 included "B" evidence (occupied nests, food to nestlings, fledglings).  As with any birding, this means that the vast majority of the reported encounters included no information of regarding breeding evidence.  

      Clearly, birders are finding eBird easy to use, and are providing searchable data at a much higher rate than MBD has ever allowed.  But we could all do better by including breeding status whenever we note it, and being more judicious in how we document the effort behind checklists. All types of birding can be captured by eBird, but timed stationary counts, area counts or short (<5 mi) traveling counts where all birds recorded provide the most power in discerning seasonal distribution patterns. eBird offers an explanation of this at the following link, which is worth reading (again?) if you are an eBird user:

      How to Make Your Checklists More Valuabl...

      Here is how the "effort" was reported: 65 of these checklists came from "traveling counts", with 32 of them under 5.0 mi in length (many were 0.1 - 1.5 mi long); 31 of them were from traveling counts of 5-25 mi; one was 30 mi, and one was 300 mi.  The latter is of no particular use to either eBird or Tracker, but observers still have a right to choose to enter counts of any length for their own listing purposes; they just won't be included in analysis by eBird.  There were 10 "stationary" counts included, and 24 "incidental observations". Most of the latter were individual birds seen by travelers, and georefenced to a point, like many MBD entries.   So the vast majority of the eBird reports of Lewis's Woodpeckers submitted to eBird last year were in a format that will translate directly to MBD.  

      Enough (more than enough?) said.  I hope that you all will continue to share your finds with the birding community through the MOB, and I urge everyone who is inspired to do so to make their birding counteven more by submitting their sightings to MBD or eBird.  

      Dan Casey


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