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Monday, January 29 • 2:40pm - 3:00pm
SYMPOSIA-01: Making Sense of 5 Million Observations: Data Management and Quality Control for Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II

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AUTHORS. Nicholas M. Anich, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; Ryan S. Brady, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; Thomas G. Prestby, GEI Consultants; Ian J. Davies, Cornell Lab of Ornithology

ABSTRACT. With any observational dataset, proper data management and data vetting procedures are critical to ensuring robust data products. Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II is a 5-year citizen-science project that collects observations from thousands of volunteer birdwatchers to track the distribution and abundance of Wisconsin’s nesting bird species. Data management is primarily through eBird, an online database hosted by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology that was already popular with Wisconsin’s birders. We developed an Atlas-specific eBird portal to collect, summarize, and display atlas information in real time. Surveyors can enter bird checklists via computer or a mobile app. Data submission is subject to pre-set filters that limit the list of likely birds by date and region to expected species and flag unusual observations or high counts. On the back end, all submitted data is processed through scripts in R to screen data for suspect breeding codes (behaviors) and dates of breeding activity for nearly 250 bird species. After this initial step highlights the data most likely to need review, data are manually reviewed by experts. We then use the corrected dataset to reinterpret the submitted breeding codes in eBird, a new development for the platform. When all field work is complete, the dataset will receive a final review by local and state experts. Our first two years of reviewed data showed that 2% of the data contained species or code-level errors.

Monday January 29, 2018 2:40pm - 3:00pm CST