Date: 1/11/18 7:36 pm From: Jon King <jonking271...> Subject: Re: Documenting unusual records in eBirds
In response to Tom's post several things come to mind. The kind of papers that would examine bird vagrancy patterns are the kind that would appear in state or regional ornithology publications most likely. The *Kansas Ornithological Society Bulletin* for example contains many papers on unusual bird records. A quick scan through publications from neighboring states shows that syntheses of unusual bird records are routinely published. Do these count as science? I don't know and that probably depends who you ask. It's not the kind of thing that appears in the *Auk* or other prestigious ornithology journals but I think most us can agree that such work has value. The changing patterns of nature have to be documented somewhere right? As for what the real scientists do I'm not qualified to make statements upon the value of the eBird review system. I did once work on a niche modeling project however, with an ornithologist, and part of my job was to remove outliers from the BBS dataset we were using. Apparently the models used were sensitive enough that such outliers (correctly identified or not) might potentially interfere with the results.
Tom brings up a second point which I like very much. He says we should rank bird records probabilistically. To that I say absolutely. I wish that all bird records committee's worked this way. There could be several categories of records. The highest would be confirmed records substantiated by a photo, video, audio, or specimen. Next would be probable records supported by solid descriptions. Ambiguous and possibly correct records would be ranked lower and unlikely records even lower. As for eBird the only problem is that I'm not a computer programmer and I can't reconfigure eBird to work this way. We use the software we have. Also keep in mind that eBird does not exactly rake in the bucks and therefore they have limited resources to develop new features. There are many features which have only recently been released that have been in planning for a really long time. Yes eBird is very imperfect but the system in place nonetheless allows for understanding of status and distribution information in a way never before possible. As Tom says hopefully it will get better :)
On Thu, Jan 11, 2018 at 9:08 PM, Tom SHANE <tom.shane...> wrote:
> Well said Henry ! ! > > I have said that bird records should be scored from 1 to 10 by a records > committee. Then a researcher would have access to everything, not just what > a committee considered important. The researcher has a much different ideas > and needs than what a committee thinks he should have. I remember when the > boys from KC found the Canyon Wren out in MT County. Sara and I drove out > to document the bird and we did. Shortly after that, it was posted that the > first record was found in Halstead in the early forties, but never > published in any of the books or directories for the following 50 years. A > researcher of wrens might have considered it a fair record, but other > people took that away from him. I'm not with Science when it comes to poor > decisions like that. > > Then, are "Patterns of Vagrancy" really science. What university professor > in this country has a grant to study and analyze patterns of vagrancy? To > me it is just a side bar of the enormous energy spent by birders looking > for rarities. Can someone cite for me a couple papers published on patterns > of vagrancy? > > Hope and Change, probably a dream > Tom Shane > 67846 > > For KSBIRD-L archives or to change your subscription options, go to > https://listserv.ksu.edu/ksbird-l.html > For KSBIRD-L guidelines go to > http://www.ksbirds.org/KSBIRD-LGuidelines.htm > To contact a listowner, send a message to > mailto:<ksbird-l-request...> >