eBird Data: Maps showing number of species by county

How many inland counties have species totals in eBird over 400? Only 8! Care to guess which 2 of those 8 are outside of CA and AZ?

Species totals by county for the lower 48.

That was the gist of a message I received recently from Tim Lenz — a friend of mine, top notch birder, and member of the eBird team at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. I was elated to see my home county of Pueblo, CO was one of those top 2 inland counties outside of CA & AZ, but Tim had piqued my interest. I wanted to see the rest of the data!

Since I’ve been visualizing similar eBird data over this past year or so, it was only natural that I get the data from Tim and tweak some of my R code to visualize his data set for the U.S. lower 48* to see what other patterns might pop out.  After a little tinkering, here they are — enjoy!

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Why just the lower 48? Well, the code to do all 50 U.S. states plus Canada is a bit of a memory hog and crushes my laptop… If I get a chance, I’ll work on the other maps at work this week, but don’t hold your breath. 😉

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2 Responses to eBird Data: Maps showing number of species by county

  1. Drew says:

    This is just begging for some type of area standardization, and maybe a 50 species penalty for counties that have a coastline 🙂

    As a happy sidenote, I have lived in 3 of the 5 counties in PA with over 300 species.

  2. Paul Hurtado says:

    Completely agree – although I’m not convinced area is the best factor to standardize against. For example, habitat diversity is a big factor; places along the coast and places like Pueblo Co., CO have high species lists because of that fact, not area. Same with other larger scale spatial factors like proximity to different habitats, migratory routes, etc.

    What I’d REALLY like to look at are seasonal trends, e.g., mid-winter vs mid-summer vs spring and/or fall migration. If the data existed, it would also be interesting to see how these totals compare to independently compiled species totals for each county based on local records. Where is eBird missing the most of (or nailing all of) the known species? So many ways to slice and dice, so little time 😉

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