[Tweeters] East Cascades Audubon Society Winter Raptor Survey Project

Jeff Fleischer raptorrunner97321 at yahoo.com
Wed Mar 9 10:15:49 PST 2016

Hi Everyone,
As you may or may not know, I have been coordinating a winter raptor survey project on behalf of the East Cascades Audubon Society (Bend,OR) since the winter of 2004-05.  Over these past 12 survey seasons, you may have seen reports from various route volunteers/surveyors on OBOL and other birding listserves displaying the results of their individual survey efforts on behalf of this project.  We are rapidly coming to a close for this winters survey work.  The project originally started with just covering the state of Oregon.  During the first winter, we had 80 routes in the project throughout the state.  From that humble beginning, the project now encompasses the state of Oregon, the state of Idaho, the Columbia River portions of Washington, and the California portion of the Klamath Basin.  This winter saw our route number climb to 270 throughout the project area, with 10 routes in WA, 6 routes in CA, 96 routes in ID, and 158 routes in OR.  There are in excess of 220 project volunteers that survey close to 16,000 miles of transects once a month during December, January, and February.
Over the last 12 survey seasons, it has been my wish to be able to  portray the data collected in this huge citizen science project in a manner that would not only display the numbers observed on each route but also show the distribution and population densities of the primary species throughout the project area.  I wanted to be able to offer this data in a viewable manner by the general public but had no clue nor technical computer knowledge on how to do that so the data languished in my computer for all this time.   In the last couple of months, I have been working closely with Kevin Black-Tanski who is a member of ECAS to make that dream come true.  Kevin is a master digital map maker and has been able to create an interactive map displaying the data that has been collected on our surveys!! 

I would like to announce that we now have the first map showing project data available on line!  I am providing two links that will direct you to the map.  The first link http://www.ecaudubon.org  is to the main webpage site for ECAS.  This displays lots of information about ECAS that I invite you to explore to see the many wonderful bird related projects that they have going on both in the central Oregon area as well as throughout the rest of the state..  If you use this link, you will have to click on Projects at the top, then the Winter Raptor Survey link that appears in the popup, and finally the 1/2016 raptor icon to get to the map.  The second link
offers you a direct path to the map that bypasses the ECAS homepage.  The map available shows the data collected in Oregon, Washington, and California during January 2016.  We are currently working with Idaho Fish and Game folks to prepare all of the Idaho routes for inclusion in this map system, it takes quite a bit of intensive computer work to do that.  We are hopeful for a summer rollout to get the entire project effort into our maps.  We intend to get similar OR/WA/CA maps online for December and February to give you a more complete picture of what happened with raptors in our project area this winter! :)  Feel free to give us feedback on the ease, or not, of the navigability of the map layers.  We want to insure an easy use of these maps :)

As you review the map and its multiple species layers, please keep in mind that this is going to be a work in progress for awhile.  Once the maps for this winter are available for viewing on the website, we will start working project data into new and different maps that will portray in various ways, all 12 winters of data that we have collected thus far.  Making these maps is a pretty tedious effort, with a LOT of attention to detail in order for the computer to do its thing in creating these maps.  As we come up with new maps, I will announce their availability on the ECAS website. 

We of course would welcome any feedback that you would like to offer :)  If you come up with a way to display the data that we have not yet thought of, and it can be done from a technical standpoint, we will be happy to pursue those ideas :)  I can't promise to answer all of your comments/suggestions but be assured that Kevin and I will attend to all of your ideas in hopes of being able to further the use of our project data.
I might also mention that there is a continuing concerted effort on the part of a crew from Oregon State University to prepare our 12 winters of data for inclusion on eBird, their very tedious efforts over the last year and a half to prepare our data for eBird insertion has been most welcome.  This aspect of our data will be of value to anyone viewing eBird raptor data for whatever purposes they wish to use it, we hope that the project data will add greatly to the raptor information already available on eBird.  The mapping project we are unveiling here is more of a general look at the data.  It will give the viewer an idea of where the various raptor species hang out, the more concentrated areas where the larger number of birds are found for each species, potential visiting points for those wishing to see certain species with hopefully better than normal opportunities to see what they want to see, and just an overall expansion of knowledge about this wonderful family of birds :)  Give the website a peek, hopefully you will enjoy going through the maps as much as Kevin and I have had getting them all ready for public display!
And finally, I want to publicly acknowledge the efforts of Kevin Black-Tanski for being totally invested in our raptor project and sharing his enormous mapping skills to prepare these and future project maps.  My desires to share this project data with the masses in a manner both useful and entertaining is beginning to come true in spades thanks to Kevin's interest and expertise, I couldn't ask for a better partner in this venture!
For those of you reading this message, please feel free to pass along the links to anyone that you feel would be interested in our project.  Also, feel free to forward this message to any listserve that you are associated with in addition to the ones that this message is being sent to.  We are looking forward to providing interesting and useful maps of our project data in the future so stay tuned for periodic messages from me and by all means visit the ECAS website for further updates:)
Jeff FleischerProject CoordinatorWinter Raptor Survey ProjectEast Cascades Audubon Society - Bend, OR
raptorrunner97321 at yahoo.com

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