Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Check out eBird's most wanted counties...


We're in the process of developing ways to try to inspire people to get out to different parts of the country and collect eBird data. Birders are often creatures of habit, which is a good thing, but it's also important for us to gather a wider spread of geographic data for analysis. We've beat around a few ideas, one of them called gBirding (more on that later), but we've also thought of trying to engage birders by showing them where the counties are with zero or one eBird checklist. Because the Top 100 tool works for counties, it's pretty easy to go out and become number 1 in a heartbeat. In any case, thoughts on how to engage people to get out to different parts of their own counties, or states, would be welcome. What would drive you to go birding somewhere that didn't necessarily have great birds (but might!)?



  1. None of the Tennessee Valley counties in AL or the adjacent counties in TN are in the 0 or 1 checklist category. As of May 1, however, your first species got you into the top 100 in every single one. Twenty species gets you to top ten in most of the valley. You folks really shouldn't leave me sitting on top of the board with seven checklists and seventeen species.

  2. The county list you just published on eBird is really good. For many of us, unexplored and uncharted country appeals to our sense of adventure. Sometimes it just takes a tool like you've provided to let us know where to go.

  3. This is excellent. Turns out I may be in Alabama next week. :-)

    This brings to mind a really successful endeavor of the Texas Ornithological Society called the Texas Century Club. The goal of TCC is to get birders to record 100 species in 100 counties. It's a great motivator. I don't plan to bird 100 counties, but I do plan to fan out into two of my adjacent counties.

    The project has been successful. All 254 Texas counties now (as of 5/2009) have checklists submitted to eBrid. And, yes! TCC now pulls its data from eBird and has been plugging its usage as the best way to enter data.

  4. All

    That's great! Get out there! Remember that eBird thrives off specific location information, so doing shorter traveling counts (<5 miles) or stationary counts is always better than doing a single big transect through a county. The more checklists from more precise locations the better!


  5. How about something visual like a "my eBirding footprint" map that uses lat/long grids or counties to display each eBirder's covered areas? Grid squares or counties could be colored in to reflect # complete checklists, #species, etc. As you bird in more areas, you could see the regions fill in and get darker. You could even normalize "my" effort to existing effort, resulting in darker colors for submitting checklists from a low-data area. Going along these lines, what about a "my eBirding effort" bar chart showing which times of the year I've birded? There are so many options!

  6. Just when I am trying not to think of county listing and re-focus on World Listing and reaching the coveted 400 species mark in Florida, possibly faster than anyone ever has. You bring up this, and now I think of all the counties in Florida I need more birds. Depressing, in a good way.
    Still there are things I'd love to get from eBird.
    My biggest day
    My biggest month
    My biggest year
    ability to "edit" countable species, to when I enter Red Jungle Fowl in Key West or Green Parakeet in Miami it doesn't tack a bird onto my lists.
    Most birded location and county
    Current years biggest day and month
    Love what Dave said too.
    Oh how about a graph showing your birding career based on total species per year seen and/or lifers added, or life list totals!
    That would so rock!

  7. Given your admitted drawbacks to counties, how about map showing the most underbirded 100-square-kilometer blocks?

  8. Aside from the spreadsheet that was created for us, is there a way to run a report to find counties with low numbers? Say that the report operates on the following ranges:


    I'm thinking that reports higher than that may nto be necessary and would put undue stress on the servers.

  9. Anyone able to visit Audubon County in Iowa? Pretty ironic that it shows up with zero checklists. Must be some good birds there.

  10. I had to travel though Georgia this week, so I decided to take a detour through four of the eastern "zero" counties: Bacon, Jeff Davis, Montgomery, Treuten. I managed to find a natural area/park in Bacon and Jeff Davis so I could do a proper (if cursory) "specific location" count. Nothing out of the ordinary, but highlights were White-eyed Vireo, Northern Parula, Great Crested Flycatcher and Wood Stork.

    I might be able to do a similar run through some of the eastern KY counties in July.

  11. Will you be posting an update to this Counties Needs list anytime soon? It would be nice to see what has happened since you posted this. Are there any un-counted counties still?