Today is the last day to get a survey done in 2014, dear Seanetters, and after that, the data analysis process may commence! For the past, oh, however many years, I have been occupied with the Field Guide. Now, I can turn my SEANET work hours toward something many of you have been eagerly awaiting: figuring out what patterns have emerged from your data in the past couple of years.
To begin this process, I will be counting on you, Seanetters, to submit any walks from 2014 you may not have added to the database yet, and I will also be contacting anyone who reported a dead bird but did not upload a photo.
The data analysis will include the basics: number of birds found per kilometer of beach (“encounter rate”) in various regions; species breakdown; annual patterns in species. What I’d like to know from you, dear readership, whether you are a Seanetter or not, is what kinds of data are you interested in seeing? Is there something you’ve been curious about on your beach? Something you wondered about in your larger region? A particular sort of graph you’d like to see? A species emphasis?
I’m open to suggestion. This is a citizen science project after all, and you are all its citizens. I will be researching other beached bird survey data to try and be sure I am analyzing our data in a way that will make it easy to compare with data from, say, our friends over in Northern Europe, since we do share this ocean with them. Beyond that, I am not wedded to any particular analysis. That’s the beauty, I suppose, of my training not as a scientist, but as a veterinarian. At least, I am trying to look on the bright side of that, and ignore any deficits.
Happy New Year everyone! I am grateful for your energy, commitment, attention and interest, whether you walk for us, read the blog, or help me figure out what that odd bit of feather and gristle might be. Here’s to a great 2015!