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Summarize My Observations

This is currently the best way to create a birding report in eBird – the best way to combine data from many checklists in one place without downloading the data from the website. It is accessed from My eBird or Explore Data, upon following this link you will be taken to a page that asks you to specify the details of the report that you want. This page (left) will form the basis of the report, allowing you to delineate the amount of time that your report will cover. As of right now, it is difficult to summarize your observations if the time period crosses either two months or two years – this is something that we are working on improving, and expect the ability to choose exact dates for this summary sooner rather than later. For now, if you want to cross over months/years, you may have to create two reports and combine them later in Excel. Once you've chosen your date parameters, it is time to go in and choose the locations! Hitting continue on the Select a Report and Date screen will cause you to proceed to the Select a Location menu.

This menu is the same with each of the three duration choices (week, month, year), the only difference in that is the "Report type" listed at the top. The list of locations here consists of every location you have a checklist submitted at in the duration specified. For example, if you chose a month report for November, 2014, the start date would be 1 Nov 2014 (month reports always start on the 1st), and the list would be of every location that you eBirded in the month of November. For a year report, it is every location for the entire year! You can select as many locations as you would like, from one to all. To choose multiple locations, follow the instructions on the form, the same instructions that can also be seen in the image of the Select a Location menu.

Once you've selected the location(s) that you want to summarize, you're good to go – a quick tap of the continue button and you have your report! The report might initially be confusing, but once broken down can be quite informative! This image to the right is a month report, as titled at the top. Below the "MONTH REPORT" label there are 5 tabs, with a new report always defaulting to High Count. These tabs control what shows in the report, in the area currently titled "Highest Count for a Species" in this image. We'll get into the different tabs more in a minute. For now, moving down the page, there are the Report Details – the date range that it covers, the number of species, checklists, and the locations that it covers. The Summary below this breaks the report down into smaller chunks than the entire package – into daily divisions for a Week Report; weekly divisions for a Month Report (as shown here); and monthly divisions for a Year Report. Each of those smaller divisions has the total number of species, individuals, and checklists for that section. Because of this, if all you care about in your weekly reports is how many species you saw that week, then you can just do a monthly report and get the total species for each week this way! 

The tabs at the top of the reports give you the option to dig much deeper into the data than just the number of species, individuals, and checklists. The default, as shown in the image above, is for the "High Count" – the highest number of that species reported in a single checklist among the checklists in your report. The image to the right shows just the summary and first few species of another Month Report. This is with the "Group Size" tab selected at the top, which shows the average number of that species seen when it was reported on a checklist. The number in the parentheses below the main number is the sample size – the number of checklists that were in fact reporting this species. By choosing the "Hide Sample Size" option visible on the right side of the report, you can hide those parenthetical numbers for a cleaner visualization if you don't need to see the sample size. The same report without sample sizes is to the right, the bottom image of the two.

The other tabs include Abundance; Frequency; and Species totals – we have already covered the other two. Abundance is the average number of that species reported across ALL checklists. This is different from Group Size in that Group Size only averages among the checklists reporting the species at hand. Therefore Abundance will always be an equal or lesser value than Group Size. Frequency is the frequency that the species is reported – the number of checklists reporting that species, divided by the total number of checklists. Species Totals provides the total number of the species reported across all checklists in that period. Some of these might be confusingly similar, but they all provide subtly different and complimentary summaries of the data that you're including in your report.

For all report types, in the upper right hand corner of the page, there are two links: Printable version, which leads to a printer-friendly version of the report; and Download this report, which downloads the data that you just summarized onto your computer, allowing you to save it offline.


For more on My eBird, check out the All About: My eBird article.
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