Live From Bird Cams Lab: A Fun and Lively Discussion

By Rachael Mady, October 27, 2020

On October 21 more than 100 people tuned in for an engaging discussion about the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Red-tailed Hawk cam and Hawk Happenings, a Bird Cams Lab investigation. As one of the hosts, I was thrilled that so many people joined us to actively participate in the chat and Q&A.

Throughout the hour the community asked questions, shared thoughts, and reflected on observations. Some had never watched the Hawk cam before, others were daily viewers; some were already a part of the Hawk Happenings investigation and others were not. We welcomed everyone, and the variety of experiences and perspectives about the hawks, their behavior, and the data, made the conversation that much richer.

As we shared the research questions and talked through hypotheses, predictions, and some of the data that participants had collected, many people surfaced important questions and insights related to the scientific process. We talked about how one begins an investigation and where to find information on hawks and other topics, how we collected the data, and the important considerations regarding data quality and sampling effort. When we all looked at the data in an interactive visualization, people shared about the patterns they saw and proposed explanations, many of which had not been previously considered by the community.

When the hour came to a close, we were reluctant to end a conversation that felt like it could have gone on for hours. We set out to not only share our knowledge and data findings, but to open the floor for the participants to contribute their own ideas and thoughts. We loved the opportunity to chat and exchange ideas as with you, our co-pilots in exploring the data. We hope that you’ll continue to engage with us and explore the visualizations before we enter the next phase: writing up and sharing our preliminary findings.

Thank you to everyone who attended the live event and who watched the archived recording. Please share any remaining questions or ideas you have for more visualizations that we could create in the forum below. Especially if you weren’t able to attend live, we encourage you to share.