Date: 5/6/19 8:21 pm
From: <clearwater...>
Subject: [obol] Ebird--avoid using the "x" in checklists because...
Tom and All,

It doesn't actually "screw up the data" to give an X if you didn't count or even estimate numbers of a particular species.

It just means that the eBird folks consider presence/absence data to be of low value compared with actual counts or even wild guesses of bird numbers, for the methods of analysis that they'd prefer to use.

I read the article. It talks about "conservation value" without really defining what this means. Is there really conservation value in recording an estimate of European Starling numbers every time you see them? I sincerely doubt it. This article lacks a technical explanation of what it claims.

There are ways to handle presence/absence data with indicator statistics etc. The math is a little more complicated than standard statistics, but not *that* much more complicated.

Yes, the eBird folks would love it if everyone counted every single bird that they see, all day long. They're long on exhortations and short on demonstrations of why things like this really matter.

My suggestion is to spend more time enjoying the birds, unless and until you see a clear scientific exposition of the marginal benefit of counting/estimating every starling flock that you see.

Happy birdwatching,
Joel


Hi all,

I strongly expect that I'm not alone in my former ignorance of why, when
filling out a checklist, it is much preferred to put in a
conservative-estimate numerical value rather than just "x". Even *if it's
only for 1 or 2 entries *it screws up the data.

Here's why in this 1-minute read. Now that I know, I'm a convert, it's
just as easy.
[ https://help.ebird.org/customer/en/portal/articles/1006732-avoiding-the-use-of-x-in-checklists%E2%80%94why-you-should-always-estimate-numbers-?b_id=1928&t=435217 | https://help.ebird.org/customer/en/portal/articles/1006732-avoiding-the-use-of-x-in-checklists%E2%80%94why-you-should-always-estimate-numbers-?b_id=1928&t=435217 ]

Thanks to Jay Withgott for telling me about this. good birding, Tom

--
Joel Geier
Camp Adair area north of Corvallis

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