Birding by the Numbers

This website includes photos and often videos of more than 100 species of birds encountered in the park (“List of Birds in Cesar Chavez Park“). We now also have a beautiful piece of artwork showing just a few of these birds in their habitat (“A Painter’s Park”). But there’s another, bigger world of birding out there, in the form of the eBird database maintained by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. This database has worldwide coverage and serves as a basic source of information for professional ornithologists and amateur birders alike.

Dallas Levey

Now, thanks to birder and bird-ecologist-in-training Dallas Levey, the eBird postings for Cesar Chavez Park from 2006 through early May 2022 are summarized in a four-page spreadsheet here on chavezpark.org. There are nearly 200 species listed, some with photos on the eBird site. Dallas, soon to commence a PhD program at Stanford, has also summarized the data for the birds’ preferred habitat, preferred diet, and preferred foraging method in a set of pie charts, below the spreadsheet. Also added is a chart of relative abundance and a list of the 15 species seen most commonly in the park and posted to eBird.

The spreadsheet and charts are helpful in getting a grip, for example, on how many bird species rely on the ground (rather than trees or shrubs) as their primary source of food and their preferred nesting location. They also indicate how many species make use of the fennel habitat. Good to know, in addition, is the commonality rating, based on the number of sightings reported to eBird over the years. The list alerts us to watch for rarely seen birds, such as the Snow Goose, the Blue-winged Teal, the Eurasian Wigeon, and others. Dallas’ spreadsheet indicates the season when we are most likely to see a bird, and the look-alike birds that we might confuse them with.

Dallas has done a tremendous amount of work compiling this data and is owed the thanks of everyone interested in the park’s many feathered creatures. Go to the spreadsheet and chart page.

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