Down the data rabbit hole

28 10 2013

At the prompting of several people, not least beached bird surveyor Doug McNair, I am delving into our data from years past. Being so consumed by volunteer recruitment, retention, and this blog, I tend to put off data analysis. This is also because I have no training in it. However, even without knowing anything elaborate about stats and such, I can at least get you all some general patterns that have emerged from all the data you’ve been collecting.

I will be focusing my efforts on the years from 2008 to the present as that’s about when we made several changes in our methods (including introducing a requirement for photos of all beached birds). I started working on this project this morning, and I’m inordinately proud of this graph I made for 2008 (click on it to view a larger version):

Comparison of beached birds found on west shores of Buzzard's Bay vs. Cape Cod Bay beaches in 2008.

Comparison of beached birds found on west shores of Buzzard’s Bay vs. Cape Cod Bay beaches in 2008.

I know, it’s not much, but it does show what we always suspected–that the number of carcasses found along Cape Cod Bay is quite a bit higher than that found along the west shore of Buzzard’s Bay. It also raises the question of what results we might get if we had volunteers walking the east shores of Buzzard’s Bay. This means I will need to do some more Cape Cod recruiting, of course; never a hardship for me.
I’ll keep plugging away and sharing the data with you as I work. I plan to break down the data by species of birds found as well. If there are additional analyses you’d like to see, or some data item you’ve always been curious about, let me know! I will try to muddle through it. Wish me luck, Seanetters!




One response

6 11 2013
Dennis Minsky

Yeah Sarah! More data, more data! Thanks for all your effort. Dennis

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