Friday 29 March 2013

Latest Ontario eBird stats

I recently received/calculated some of the most recent Ontario eBird stats, which many of you might find interesting. Most of these stats (unless mentioned otherwise) are as of the end of February 2013.

If you aren't using eBird yet, you might find this presentation I recently did helpful.

First up, the most interesting stat (in my opinion) is the number of checklists submitted per year. The growth of eBird in Ontario continues to be staggering:
Ontario eBird checklist submissions per year

And amazingly, we are already (as of March 29, 2013) up to 37,097 for this year! February and March 2013 have had the most checklist submissions yet! Viewing the same data, but per month reveals the not surprising trend through the year where birders are out most in spring and fall:
Ontario eBird checklist submissions per month

The geographic distribution of observations has stabilized a little bit now, with the only real surprises (in my opinion) being a) Northumberland at number 1 (although that is explained by about half of those are from the upload of the Northumberland County Bird Database); b) the relatively poor showing by Hamilton and Halton at spot 14 and 15; c) the strength of Peterborough; and d) the relatively poor showing by Middlesex at spot number 30. The full listing is in table 1:

Table 1. Total number of eBird observations submitted for each Ontario "county" all time, sorted from most to least observations.

County observations
Northumberland 315022
Essex 281163
Toronto 241902
Ottawa 190418
Norfolk 187778
Durham 133205
Peterborough 112312
Waterloo 106083
Niagara 98309
Peel 92268
Frontenac 89222
Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry 88317
Leeds and Grenville 87101
Hamilton 68451
Halton 67575
Wellington 66281
Chatham-Kent 63487
Nipissing 60775
Elgin 60589
Haldimand 53290
Perth 50552
Cochrane 50208
Bruce 48034
Algoma 46072
Kawartha Lakes 44594
Lambton 43062
Lennox and Addington 42393
Prince Edward 41914
Thunder Bay 38495
Middlesex 33599
Simcoe 31504
Rainy River 29984
Kenora 25639
Prescott and Russell 20951
Muskoka 20510
York 20413
Renfrew 17695
Hastings 17181
Oxford 15823
Timiskaming 14852
Manitoulin 14731
Huron 12293
Lanark 10603
Parry Sound 8838
Grey 8355
Brant 8169
Haliburton 8040
Dufferin 7330
Sudbury 6599
Greater Sudbury 5847

The Ontario eBird user base also continues to grow. To date we have received checklists from an impressive 5985 different users! I have ranked everyone by the number of observations (each species/checklist combination counts as an observation) - if you want to know where you fit on that list or your total number of eBird observations let me know! Personally, I've submitted just shy of 83,000 observations!
One of my most recent eBird observations: the Western Grebe in Toronto

And finally, eBird has records of 679 species, forms, spuhs and slashes (read this article to understand what that means!) in the public database.  The top 25 species reported are listed in Table 2:

Table 2: Top 25 species reported to eBird in Ontario.

Species Observations
Black-capped Chickadee 94424
American Crow 85632
Mourning Dove 75208
American Robin 73471
Blue Jay 71894
American Goldfinch 71810
Canada Goose 70413
Ring-billed Gull 68540
European Starling 66628
Mallard 65345
Northern Cardinal 61462
Red-winged Blackbird 57064
Song Sparrow 52600
Common Grackle 50402
Downy Woodpecker 49976
House Sparrow 46403
Dark-eyed Junco 41740
White-breasted Nuthatch 38884
Herring Gull 38345
Rock Pigeon 33748
Northern Flicker 30164
Red-tailed Hawk 29864
House Finch 29216
Great Blue Heron 29139

That's all for now!


  1. Ok you have me curious on my all time observation number and rank

  2. Three comments Mike:
    1. The total submissions in any one county can be heavily influenced by one or two zealous observers who are able almost daily to cover the area and who break down a given location into several loci. For example one birder might have XYZ Park as a location, someone else might have the same park broken down into twelve different trails. Thus one observer would submit one report, the other twelve reports, for the same location on the same day.
    2. EBird needs to switch to a 24-hour clock. There is no such time as 12:00 am or pm. Noon or midnight is a precise moment at the turning point of the day or night, so to speak. I always have to check myself to figure out which it should be if my sighting is at 12 o'çlock.
    3. The entire world, except for the United States, spells English as it was meant to be spelled - grey for example, NOT gray. The IOC has long ago adopted universal English as correct. It's time for eBird to grow up and recognize that one aberrant code of bastardized English should not be foisted on the entire bird-reporting world.

    1. Hi David,

      I agree there are certainly lots of sources of bias in the distribution of eBird submissions in Ontario - but I think the trends do hold up, with most of the "counties" near the top of the list having several regular eBirders who contribute lots of information. One of the most useful types of checklists someone can submit to eBird is repeated visits to the same location so that is great if we get really dedicated contributors.

      As far as the 24-hour clock goes, I know you're not the first person to suggest it and I would imagine it will happen eventually.

      The spelling of bird names in eBird can be adjusted based on your country. If you prefer the UK(Canadian) spelling of Grey Catbird for instance, it is just a matter of making that change in your preferences:
      1. log into eBird
      2. click the "preferences" link beside your username
      3. under species name display change your language to "English (UK)"

      (Note, you won't be able to click the green "save changes" button until you've changed something else about the display options, so change to scientific only, save and then change back to the option you want and save again.

  3. What percentage of the Ontario lists and sightings are generated by birders living in Waterloo/Wellington region/county?

    As Alvan says, it is very competitive here.

    1. Hi Fred,

      I can't make that calculation because eBird doesn't track people by their location (that information is private if it is filled out). I agree that there is likely a pretty disproportionate number of checklists coming from Waterloo/Wellington birders but I can't track that.

      Waterloo and Wellington combine for about 5% of all eBird observations which isn't bad considering most local birders spend much of their time birding in other places.