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 Post subject: Avibase - an online tool for bird data geeks like me
PostPosted: July 13th, 2014, 6:28 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 10:14 pm
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Location: San Antonio, TX
OK,

So I am headed to Costa Rica in a couple of weeks and was thinking ......"hmm, I wonder how many new birds I can get there?" I am at 1949 for the world right now so I was wondering if I can get 51 new species on this trip.

So I decided to explore Avibase ( http://avibase.bsc-eoc.org/avibase.jsp ). This is a free online bird database which will import your ebird data and do all sorts of stuff that ebird doesn't.

It can:
- create country, state, region checklists
- create a checklist showing just which species you need based on regularly occurring species only or including rarities.
- show you what time of year is best to visit an area to maximize the number of birds that would be new for you
- show you where in the world or a given country you can find the most new birds (including or excluding accidentals)

All of this data can be viewed on checklists, graphs, or maps. The coolest stuff is under "Reports" under MyAvibase.

As an example, here's my world map for where I can see the most new species:

Image

On the real map, you can hover over a country and it will tell you how many species you have left in that country. So I might as well not bother making a birding trip to Greenland where there are only 24 regularly occuring species that would be new for me. Indonesia offers me the most lifers. Interestingly, even though I have been to Ecuador, there are still 1000 potential lifers left for me there!

Here's my US map for comparison -

Image

So there are only 12 regularly occurring Texas birds left for me (from my world lifelist) and Louisiana can only offer 5 new species. If I want new birds in the US, I have to go to Alaska (70 species), Hawaii (68 species), California (52), etc..

Interestingly, although the neighboring states offer me less than 20 new species, Ohio offers me 36! What's going on up there in Ohio? Is it the new birding hotspot of the US? You Ohio guys seem to be on to something!

It is a fun tool and gives you some interesting ideas about how to look at your data on ebird. It is yet another good reason to have your data on ebird!

In answer to the question I set out to answer, there are 243 potential lifers in the province of Alajuela where I will be. But wait, there's more....if you order now....

Image

Here's a graph showing how many checklists that have been reported to ebird (by others) and how many lifers for me they include. It is based on that area (Alajuela) for each different week of the year. Unfortunately, reported diversity is low when I am going to be there because it is the rainy season and most ecotourists are wimps and don't like to get wet, but the checklists from that area at the time I will be there still had 50.194 species that would be lifers for me.

Hopefully I can squeeze out 51!

Chris


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 Post subject: Re: Avibase - an online tool for bird data geeks like me
PostPosted: July 14th, 2014, 5:20 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 9:37 am
Posts: 897
Location: NE Ohio
That is some pretty cool stuff you can play around with. I might have to look into it.

And...
Quote:
Interestingly, although the neighboring states offer me less than 20 new species, Ohio offers me 36! What's going on up there in Ohio? Is it the new birding hotspot of the US? You Ohio guys seem to be on to something!

I've told you that you need to come up to Ohio. Come in May and you would have one heck of a good time herping and birding. Also on your list Rhode Island would do better for you on lifers? I would have to suspect that is north Atlantic pelagics?


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 Post subject: Re: Avibase - an online tool for bird data geeks like me
PostPosted: July 14th, 2014, 4:10 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 10:14 pm
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Location: San Antonio, TX
Andy Avram wrote:
Also on your list Rhode Island would do better for you on lifers? I would have to suspect that is north Atlantic pelagics?


I saw that as well. Maine makes sense, but RI seemed odd. Then again, we are only talking about 30 or so birds and when you start considering northern gulls, a few pelagics and particularly Alcids my list is pretty poor. There are still NO alcid records for the state of Texas. With the "outbreak" of Razorbills in the Gulf a few winters back lots of people looked, but still no Alcids. There are more records of Thick-knees and Antshrikes in Texas than alcids.


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 Post subject: Re: Avibase - an online tool for bird data geeks like me
PostPosted: July 15th, 2014, 8:58 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 4:07 pm
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Location: Hillsdale County, Michigan
This makes it pretty tempting to move all my records from Avisys to Ebird. The one downfall I see is having to be online to access my own records.


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 Post subject: Re: Avibase - an online tool for bird data geeks like me
PostPosted: July 15th, 2014, 12:59 pm 
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Curtis Hart wrote:
This makes it pretty tempting to move all my records from Avisys to Ebird. The one downfall I see is having to be online to access my own records.


I was hesitant to get all my records into Ebird for the same reason. But now that I have my data in there, I really don't use Avisys anymore. I can access me birdlist whenever I have internet access and this includes on my phone and my tablet (which I can't do in Avisys). Furthermore, you can download your Ebird data as a CSV file if you really want.

The only real advantage Avisys had for me was the ability to make checklists with my data already included. Now with Avibase I can do that as well.

I used to use Avisys for my herp records as well, but now I have herpmapper for my herp records as well.

Also, the Birdlog App is pretty good for being able to record your birds in the field and get them automatically uploaded into Ebird. I love Avisys and have been a staunch supporter for many something like 20 years, but I think now these online databases have surpassed its capacities.


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 Post subject: Re: Avibase - an online tool for bird data geeks like me
PostPosted: July 15th, 2014, 6:10 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 4:07 pm
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Location: Hillsdale County, Michigan
I don't see being able to leave Avisys. I'll still need it for mammals, which are more important to me than birds. Herpmapper is great, but still online and as a consultant who works for private industry, I cannot put incidental work records in Herpmapper. This would create some holes in my data, as I've seen 30+ species of herps only at work. There are also several species from the past I don't have vouchers for. I may switch for birds at some point though.

Those maps that tell you how many new birds you can get are pretty nice. Do you think it will actually help you pick a travel destination?

Curtis


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 Post subject: Re: Avibase - an online tool for bird data geeks like me
PostPosted: July 27th, 2014, 11:26 am 
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Location: San Antonio, TX
Curtis Hart wrote:
Those maps that tell you how many new birds you can get are pretty nice. Do you think it will actually help you pick a travel destination?


Probably not. I go places because I want to go there and can budget it. I have no real desire to go to Costa Rica over Panama, for example, but Costa Rica was going to be so cheap for me that the decision was made by my wallet.

I actually can't get that many new birds in CR. I only want 52 to get me to the 2K mark. (I lost a bird last week when an Ebird reviewer pointed out that the bird I claimed to have seen in South Africa in 2000 doesn't occur in South Africa. :( )


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 Post subject: Re: Avibase - an online tool for bird data geeks like me
PostPosted: August 3rd, 2014, 6:26 am 
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Curtis Hart wrote:
I don't see being able to leave Avisys. I'll still need it for mammals, which are more important to me than birds.


Actually, I was just thinking with HERP and Herpmapper having most of my (documentable) herp records in there I don't put them in Avisys anymore. I have 590 documented taxa in Herpmapper and there are probably only another 30-50 taxa that I have seen that aren't in there. I will be over 600 taxa in Herpmapper by the end of August.

Have you seen the talk about emammal? It relies on camera traps right now, but might expand beyond that at some point.

As for the internet connectivity issue, I can pretty much access ebird where ever I have a computer or phone. In my avisys data, I had to be at a specific computer. And you can always download your data from ebird/Herpmapper/HERP if you want an offline version. Not as snazzy as Avisys reports though.


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 Post subject: Re: Avibase - an online tool for bird data geeks like me
PostPosted: August 14th, 2014, 3:42 pm 
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Location: Hillsdale County, Michigan
From what I can see, emammal was snapped up by someone to use on a decent project, but nowhere near the scope and user benefits that ebird has. I don't see an online mammal recording website that is on par with ebird in the near future. Hopefully some day, I would love to use Avibase on my mammal data.

As far as herps, I use Avisys as a lifelisting tool. I don't do much herp data at the moment, due to confidentiality agreements with work. Hopefully I get back into it when the majority of my field time is not work.

That's a good point about being able to use any computer anywhere. The time and effort to transfer everything to ebird is a bit daunting, especially as vague as some of my localities are. I don't see having the time any time soon.



Curtis


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 Post subject: Re: Avibase - an online tool for bird data geeks like me
PostPosted: October 19th, 2014, 5:08 am 
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Okay, someone needs to do the work to get this functionality onto NAHERP. This is very, very cool stuff.


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 Post subject: Re: Avibase - an online tool for bird data geeks like me
PostPosted: October 27th, 2014, 6:05 am 
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While we're on the topic, for those who have used multiple different databases for submitting their data, what functionality would you like to see on NAHERP/Herpmapper that you've found on other databases, or just wished was there?


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