Results In Hand, Data Collection Right Around The Corner

January 13, 2021

369 participants vote on what data we will collect for
Battling Birds: Panama Edition on Zooniverse

Two Collared Aracaris looking to the left on the Panama Fruit Feeder. Two Collared Aracaris on the Panama Fruit Feeder after each displaced a Chestnut-headed Oropendola. Clip cut by Bird Cams Lab participant Rysx.

The Results

After weeks of discussion on the Wonder Board and a live webinar with Dr. Eliot Miller and Bird Cams staff, 369 Bird Cams Lab participants ranked eight factors related to displacements from most to least interesting. It was clear that we would record displacements (i.e., when one bird takes the perch or food of another bird) to build a dominance hierarchy (i.e., social rankings based on winners and losers of those displacements). To help us understand these social rankings, we needed to decide what other factors might influence displacements. In a scientific investigation, it’s important to have a clear focus on the questions you want to answer, and ranking these factors helps us identify the variables that are most interesting and relevant to include in the data collection phase.

To make these decisions, we asked Bird Cams Lab participants to rank eight factors. Once all the vote were in, we calculated the weighted average ranking for each factor, and found that four factors received the most interest:

A visual of the voting results with teach piece of information ranked from most to least interesting. The information at the top is highlighted in yellow and it progressively becomes more red as it is positioned more towards the bottom. In order from most to least interesting to participants: type of displacement, presence or type of food on the feeder, number of individuals of each species, size of each species in the displacement, where target of the displacement goes, weather, sex of dimorphic species, and color of each species in the displacement.

Based on these results, we’ll design the data collection tool to allow us to specify (1) whether displacements involve physical contact, (2) the presence or type of food on the feeder, (3) the number of individuals of each species, and (4) the size of each species in a displacement. 

What’s next?

Data collection is right around the corner! We have already started putting together the data collection workflow on Zooniverse based on the results from the vote. Zooniverse is an online platform with thousands of projects where people just like you collect data for citizen science projects. It is also where we collected data for the first Battling Birds investigation, which collected displacement data from a live feeder cam at the Cornell Lab.

A screenshot of the homepage on Zooniverse with a red arrow pointing to the words "Register" at the top right corner.

Register for a free today so that you’ll be ready to jump into data collection.

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