Print

Print


I agree with Edge that it takes many skills to have a good birding experience.   I am told by my birding friends that I have "good ears" --- however I am not good at spotting birds because my vision is impaired with lively and abundant "floaties"  (those who have them, know what I am talking about).  When I see movement, it might be a bird, it might be a visual distortion, it might be a falling leaf, it might be nothing.    I enjoy having someone with "good eyes" along as we compliment each other's skill.  I know a couple of beginners who are superb spotters even if they can't yet name all the birds.   I might hear something and can whisper to the spotter "there is something different over here, high, left" and the spotter can find it before I do;   or the spotter might say "I see movement there but I can't see all of the bird", and if I can focus in and hear it, I might know what it is, or can at least narrow down the choices.  We can work together and get more out of the birding experience than either of us can get individually.  

A word of caution - when I (or someone like me with "good ears") say "shhh" (politely of course) or walk away from the group, I am not being anti-social.  One of the keys to "birding by ear" is to be able to filter out all the extraneous sounds and noises to be able to focus on the ONE sound that you are trying to identify.   If you don't bird by ear, you would be astonished by how many natural (bugs, wind, birds, water, plants rubbing together, etc.) and man-made (voices, traffic, etc.) sounds there are that your mind has to push aside in order to be able to focus on the one sound that you do want to hear.    Some of my birding friends have learned to read my body language and they will say "Jean's gone on point again" when they can tell that I have gone very still and am trying to focus on a sound  (I have also learned when I am with paid guides to watch for that same body language with them).  The appropriate response to that is not to yell "Wha'cha got? What's that bird?"  but instead to quietly and slowly work your way over to where the "good ears" person is and see if you can help to spot what they are hearing.  Quietly and slowly is hard to do in the excitement of the moment, I am a big offender -  I wish I had a dollar for every time I was told to stop POINTING, my arm just juts out there before I even know what is happening!

And I couldn't agree more with Edge that birding gives me a psychological lift.  It has gotten me through many a difficult time!  Sometimes I just don't want to count, I just want to enjoy, and I think that is OK too.
Jean Leonatti
Boone County
Columbia, MO

-----Original Message-----
From: Missouri Wild Bird Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Edge Wade
Sent: Thursday, July 13, 2017 2:51 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Reporting accurately on eBird

There is a factor in comparing reports that Danny may not be considering.

I have severe hearing loss and wear hearing aids that compensate to some degree.  I have no doubt that if I were to keep a list of heard only birds on the same birding trip as Danny or the many other full-hearing capable birders I know (to me, often amazingly aurally gifted), our numbers would differ significantly.

So, for many instances, discrepancies in eBird reports are not due to an underestimate nor a lack of noting on paper or electronically at the time birds are heard, but a real difference in the ability to detect them.  Sometimes this is due to a birder not yet knowing one or more vocalizations of a species, but very often it is a matter of an average or below average hearing ability that results in a lower number recorded compared to a "super ear".

The "super ears" among us often bird alone or with others similarly gifted.  We all benefit from their ability and skill. On occasion, I have found a "super ear" to be unaware of the handicap some of us bird with, and expresss shock, dismay (or a couple of times, even disdain) when we don't hear a bird they hear well.

I really enjoy birding with those with sharp hearing, whose attention is often focused on the sounds around them, while I am "freed up" from intense listening so am freer to use sight to detect birds the listener has not detected because it is silent or sitting out of his/her field of view.  This way, we both benefit by becoming aware of more species/individuals present than we would have if birding alone.

Whatever your skill level, eyesight, hearing, or walking ability, bird on!  A birding adventure is a psychological lift and, if results are reported, adds to our knowledge of birds.

Bodacious birding--and stay Cool!

Edge Wade
Columbia, MO
[log in to unmask] 

 

----- Original Message -----
From: "Danny Akers" <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Thursday, July 13, 2017 1:49:11 PM
Subject: Re: Reporting accurately on eBird

I'm a firm believer that the vast majority of birders underestimate numbers of or even individual birds. This is something I discovered I personally had done until I began utilizing the eBird (and former BirdLog) apps *while* I was in the field.

An example, I birded Wyandotte Co. Lake on the Kansas side of Kansas City on 10 May, observed and/or heard upwards of 90! Swainson's Thrushes. Other birders birding that park either same day or very close to it recorded no more than 26-28 birds, which is a staggeringly gross misrepresentation of what was actually present.

Driving through a state park yesterday I had counts of 20-30 Red-eyed Vireos and House Wrens, almost certainly two species that are drastically underestimated in eBird tallies.

This is arguably my biggest pet peeve with the utilization of eBird, and perhaps it lies not only on issues with filter thresholds. One of two issues springs to mind, either better efforts (and practice) need to be made at estimating numbers or more attention needs to be paid *during* each individual outing or checklist, rather than waiting until *after* that outing is completed. If you wait until the end of the day to record your eBird lists, I'd argue that you're better off putting X's for everything and not even bother trying to record numbers.

My two cents.

Danny Akers
Ames, IA

_____________________________
From: Mary McCarthy <[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>>
Sent: Thursday, July 13, 2017 11:47 AM
Subject: Re: Reporting accurately on eBird
To: <[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>>


You are very right. I think the count is the hardest thing on eBird.  If there is something unusual I try to count it reasonably well, but things like red wing blackbirds and various swallows at Eagle Bluffs are impossible to count when I am looking for other birds. I am not totally accurate.  I am sure I don't see all that are there, but I try to estimate as close as possible.  What is the recommended way to do this?


Mary, Columbia

On Jul 13, 2017, at 10:22 AM, Andrew Reago <[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>> wrote:

We noticed that over the years many of us using eBird put down low counts on birds to avoid being flagged or having to do the work of describing how you made that count.  We have done that, too. We know about other birders doing this, too, because we all talk in the field about this issue with them. We joke about it or talk about our frustrations or our laziness or whatever.

However, we have made a commitment this year to no longer do that.

I want to encourage everyone to make this commitment, too.  If everyone starts to be diligent, accurate and have integrity to their eBird reporting, then our flagged counts will eventually get approved  -  and the data will improve.

What brought this up for us were the many trips made by birders to the Grand Tower Island area to look for the Anhinga around the same time - and all the low counts entered on the Black-necked Stilt in particular.  Chrissy and I counted 62 Black-necked Stilts on our first pass on the levee.  There were actually many more, but to avoid recounting and to keep our count conservative and as accurate as possible, we left it at 62 in our report on eBird.  This did not get approved.  Everyone who went there had to see they were numerous, everywhere and the easiest shorebird to ID with a scope out of the hundreds present.  Still, birders were reporting seriously low numbers like 1 or 3 or 6 or 12 or such on the BNST. Only one other person put down a high count besides us.  (Rhonda Rothrock reported 53 on 6/28/17 and got that approved. We reported 62 on 7/9/17 and got shot down.)

I understand folks might be looking for the Anhinga and not counting BNST, but when we put down 62 and most others put down something between 1-12, well, it seems a sort of injustice to the bird.  Also, our count, made diligently and accurately, goes unapproved and looks ridiculous, when the low counts are what are inaccurate, not ours.

This is about justice for the bird, not us.  BNST are desperate for good habitat to raise their young, as are most shorebirds.  They found a good area this year at Grand Tower Island.  That seems important to us.  (By the way, the reporting on all shorebirds in this area was equally poor and inaccurate.)

I think folks can do target birding and accurately represent bird species present.  Maybe I'm wrong.  Maybe folks get in a hurry when they target bird or don't have time.  I am just putting a plea to those who might take the time, to do so.

We were lucky that the Anhinga flew over us right away when we got there late in the day - and again when we left - but even so, we were enchanted by this new and exciting area to bird and wanted to do justice to reporting all the birds present.

I hope all birders will consider this and not be afraid of true and accurate reporting.

Andy Reago

St. Louis MO

[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>


-

________________________________
The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum Archives<https://po.missouri.edu/archives/mobirds-l.html> / Subscription options<https://po.missouri.edu/cgi-bin/wa?SUBED1=mobirds-l&A=1> / ASM Website<http://mobirds.org> / Email the list owners<mailto:[log in to unmask]>

ABA Birding Code of Ethics<http://www.aba.org/about/ethics.html>

ASM Fall Meeting: September 22-24, 2017 at Lake of the Ozarks Details and Online Registration<http://www.mobirds.org/ASM/Meetings.aspx>

________________________________
The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum Archives<https://po.missouri.edu/archives/mobirds-l.html> / Subscription options<https://po.missouri.edu/cgi-bin/wa?SUBED1=mobirds-l&A=1> / ASM Website<http://mobirds.org> / Email the list owners<mailto:[log in to unmask]>

ABA Birding Code of Ethics<http://www.aba.org/about/ethics.html>

ASM Fall Meeting: September 22-24, 2017 at Lake of the Ozarks Details and Online Registration<http://www.mobirds.org/ASM/Meetings.aspx>



------------------------------------------------------------
The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum Questions or comments? Email the list owners:
mailto:[log in to unmask]
ABA Birding Code of Ethics
http://www.aba.org/about/ethics.html

------------------------------------------------------------
The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum Questions or comments? Email the list owners:
mailto:[log in to unmask]
ABA Birding Code of Ethics
http://www.aba.org/about/ethics.html

------------------------------------------------------------
The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum
To unsubscribe or change subscription options:
https://po.missouri.edu/cgi-bin/wa?SUBED1=mobirds-l&A=1
ABA Birding Code of Ethics
http://www.aba.org/about/ethics.html