New York State
Ornithological Association

For the birders and birds of the Empire State

County & State Listing

How-to: Using eBird to Get Your Numbers Together

(and options for dealing with Regional Totals)
by Carena Pooth

September 2017
Regional Totals section added 1/15/18

 

Are you an eBird user? Here is a simple tutorial on how you can easily grab your state and county totals from eBird for the NYSOA County & State Listing project/competition.

 

First, one of the ground rules: MAKE SURE YOU DON’T COUNT SPECIES THAT ARE NOT ON THE Checklist of the Birds of New York State in your totals (e.g. Chukar, or any NYS species not yet accepted by NYSARC).

 

The checklist is online at http://nybirds.org/Publications/ChecklistNYS.htm.

 

Start by printing the county listing form so you can write the numbers on it (do this even if you are going to enter your data online--it will make transcribing the numbers super easy).

As you complete the steps below, write the totals onto page 2 of the form.  
When you have all the numbers you want to submit, you can enter them online
OR you can complete page 1 of the paper form send both pages to me by email or fax (see details on form).

 

GETTING THE NUMBERS:

Go to http://ebird.org/content/ebird/ and login. Then follow the steps below.

 

STATE TOTALS (as of 12/31/17):

1.  Click My eBird and then the State/Province tab.

2.  For your NYS LIFE total, use theLife number shown for New York. If you’re not sure whether you picked up any new      NYS lifers after the end of the year (which should not be included in your report, do the following:

    •   Click the number in the Life column.
    •   On the next screen, click the word Date (the rightmost column header). That will sort the sightings by date.
    •   Scroll to the bottom to see if any new lifers were added in 2018; use the appropriate number from column 1.

3.  For your NYS YEAR total:

    • Click My eBird and then the State/Province tab.
    • Click the number in the Year column next to New York.
    • On the next screen, change the year above the listing to 2017.
    • Scroll to the bottom and use the number in column 1 for your NYS 2017 year list total.


COUNTY LIFE TOTALS (as of 12/31/17):

1.  Click My eBird and then the County tab.

2.  For your NYSOA county listing report, you will be entering only LIFE numbers for counties, so for the most part
     you can just use the Life number shown for each county. If you’re not sure whether you picked up a new county
     lifer after 12/31/17, do the following for each county you want to check:

  • Click the number in the Life column.
  • On the next screen, click the word Date (the rightmost column header). That will sort the sightings by date.
  • Scroll to the bottom to see if any new lifers were added in 2018; use the appropriate number from col. 1.

 

REGIONAL TOTALS (as of 12/31/17):

These are a lot tougher to deal with, since NYSOA's Kingbird regions are not defined in eBird. Here are some options.

 

The old-fashioned way: You can use NYSOA's handy checklist booklet, assign the regions you bird most frequently to checkbox columns, and then check birds off as you see them during the year. Or you can print off a paper checklist for each region and check birds off on it throughout the year.


eBird: You can download your eBird data as a csv file and then use Excel for the regions that have boundaries coinciding with county lines. For example, here is how you can do it for Region 10 (I use Excel 2013; if you have a different version the click-by-click may differ slightly):

 

1.  Download your ebird data and open the csv file with Excel.

2.  Click on Data at the top, then “Filter” in the ribbon.  This will put drop-down arrows on the columns.

3.  Now filter on the “County” column for Bronx, Kings, New York, Queens, Richmond, Nassau, Suffolk:  Click on the little arrow at the top of column G, Uncheck “Select All” in the resulting drop-down, and then click the boxes next to those 7 counties. Then click “OK” and you will have only the sightings for those 7 counties in Region 10.

4.  Add a sheet to the workbook.

5.  Select the original sheet (the one with MyEBirdData tab). You can select the entire sheet by clicking the triangle at the upper left corner, above the row numbers and left of the column letters.  Press Ctrl-C to copy it.

6.  Click on the tab for the new sheet you created. In that sheet, Click on cell A1 and press Ctrl-V to paste the data for the 7 counties in Region 10.

7.  Now remove all but one sighting per species, in order to get the species count. Do this by clicking Data at the top, then “Remove Duplicates.” In the window that pops up, click Unselect All, and then click Common Name.

8.  Now you’ll have one line per species for Region 10. You just need to discount any in the list that are spuhs, hybrids, or not yet on the NYSOA checklist.

 

County names that are used in other states If you have sightings in Orange County, NY and Orange County, CA (for example), you’ll need to filter out the non-NY sightings before you copy the sheet.
And then there are those few counties in western NY that are split by regional boundaries: Orleans, Genesee, Wyoming, and Cayuga. That’s where the old-fashioned checklist & pencil approach may work best….
The county & region map on the NYSOA website is at http://nybirds.org/CountyLists/map-counties-kbregions.pdf.

 

AVISYS: If you still have it, use the old but superb bird listing program called AviSys, which allows you to define geographic regions that encompass multiple counties. You can even define your own locations for regions 1, 2, 3, and 5, which have boundaries not wholly coinciding with county lines. For example, I have "Cayuga North" and "Cayuga South" because Cayuga is split between regions 3 and 5. Then you have to manually assign your sightings to those partial counties to derive your regional totals.
Once you have your data assigned to the regions properly in AviSys, the job is easy. However, it’s a bit of a pain syncing between eBird and AviSys.
Note:
Since Jerry Blinn died in 2015, a facebook group page has been set up by Kent Fiala called AviSys Birding Software, and Kent has been providing some tools and files on his website at http://avisys.faintlake.com/.

 

Whatever your approach…MAKE SURE YOU DON’T COUNT SPECIES THAT ARE NOT ON THE Checklist of the Birds of New York State in your totals (e.g. Chukar, or any NYS species not yet accepted by NYSARC).

 

The checklist is online at http://nybirds.org/Publications/ChecklistNYS.htm.

 


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