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Monthly Program – November 2020
November 2, 2020 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
THE BIRDS YOU MAY BE MISIDENTIFYING AND OTHER RANTINGS OF A GRUMPY EBIRD REVIEWER
This will be an online meeting by way of Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/6155249106
While long regulated by the honor system, birding has gone through a significant change recently with the rise in popularity of eBird. This citizen science database created by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology is used by 600,000 birders who have entered 48,000,000 checklists worldwide.
However, with the need for quality control of the data and a review process for rare or unusual observations, we cannot trust the honor system to validate publicly entered records. Data entry in eBird, often supplemented with photos, has helped illuminate the birds that many birders have trouble identifying. This in conjunction with the now common practice of birders and photographers submitting photos to Facebook pages or websites for identification advice shows just how little
many people know about identifying birds. Most misidentifications are rooted in innocent ignorance, but others result from more insidious motivations.
As an active birder in Ventura County for over 26 years and now a local eBird reviewer, David Pereksta has seen it all and then some. He likens entering data in eBird to birding in one’s underwear because everything is available for all to see. He will discuss why eBird review makes him grumpy and what some of the common pitfalls are across users. He will discuss how and why birders misidentify birds, what the worst eBird user habits are, and what the most commonly misidentified birds are locally. While he has no intention of making anyone feel good about their birding abilities, he will provide tips and pointers for developing better skills, how to be a better eBirder, and how to identify the birds that give birders the most troubles. You may be surprised at some of the species you are likely misidentifying. This talk will make you laugh, squirm, and maybe even cry if you are sensitive or harboring a lot of birding guilt. Dave was hoping to see all your faces in person as the blood rushes to them, so you are lucky that we are still in a social lockdown.
David Pereksta is an avian biologist with the Pacific OCS Region of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in Camarillo, California. His primary duties are studying and analyzing the effects of offshore energy development on birds and bats off the Pacific coast of the U.S. and Hawaii. Before coming to BOEM in March 2010, he spent 16 years with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service working on the conservation and recovery of threatened and endangered species along the Pacific coast, and 3 years with the U.S. Forest Service surveying, monitoring and managing late seral stage forest species in the Sierra Nevada. Throughout his 30-year career, he has studied a number of imperiled bird species including Snowy Plovers, Piping Plovers, Least Terns, Ospreys, Northern Goshawks, Brown Pelicans, Spotted Owls, and Ivory-billed Woodpeckers. An avid birder for 45 years, Dave has traveled throughout North America, Central America, South America, the South Pacific, and East Asia including leading trips to Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, and Peru. David is the top lister in Ventura County (449 species) and he also holds the big year (346 species) and big day (190 species) records for the county. He has seen 2,100 species of birds in his travels; photographing more than 1,500 species along the way.