California Bluebird Recovery Program (CBRP)
END-OF-SEASON DATA ENTRY April 15, 2013
Last season we changed end-of-season data collection from a home-grown database to collaborative “cloud” software; namely, a spreadsheet on Google Drive (Documents) which provided for most of our needs. For the most part this worked well however such collaborative software does not provide protection from accidental damage or consistency/validity checking and so, some problems arose. I have implemented additional error checking and protection this year. The most common problem last year was that the number of boxes or the number of next tries by species was not entered. Please remember to enter these.
At the same time we made two significant changes in what data is collected: 1) results were collected at the species-level for each trail and not at the box-by-box level and 2) the #eggs, #hatch and #fledged were collected but without date-related information. You can learn more about this software link by linking to the Google Drive site (formerly known as Google Docs).
If you are interested and willing to enter box-by-box data including dates and additional information, I encourage you to use NestWatch, developed over the past years by Cornell University as part of their Citizen Science program; link to: NestWatch. For additional background on these changes , see the article I wrote for the NABS spring newsletter: click here: NABS Article.
End-of-season data reporting will work as follows in 2013:
I will send each of you email containing a link to the shared, on-line spreadsheet for data collection by June of this year. You will use the provided link to enter results for each trail you monitor using your web browser. The information to be entered will include monitor and trail information and for each species, the number of eggs, hatchlings and fledglings. In addition there will be one field to make notes for your own reference, one to comment on the data collection process and still another for Field Notes to be shared in our newsletter, Blue Birds Fly!. I would appreciate any comments you would like to make about the layout, what data is collected and level of documentation. Our editor would appreciate any ‘field notes’ that you are willing to share for out newsletter.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR ENTERING DATA:
Open the email you receive from me and click on the link. The data collection spreadsheet on Google Drive will open in your browser.
DATA COLLECTION worksheet:
Abbreviated data entry instructions appear in the first few rows of the spreadsheet along with row headers, counters/sums and error indicators. These 9 rows are frozen (and protected against change) so as to be viewable as you enter data. Note that row 5 contains two error indicators which will indicate the number of the first row in the spreadsheet which has data reported for any species but not the 1) number of nest tries and/or 2) number of nest boxes on the trail. Otherwise the indicator will display “None Found”.
For each trail to be entered, find the first empty row and click on the row number. Use the horizontal and vertical scroll bars to position the display; use the cursor or tab to select fields. Data is saved to Google Drive as they are entered so there is no need to save the spreadsheet – just close (quit). It is not necessary to enter “0” for any field.
Columns A thru F: identify the monitor and trail; each column (except Email) has a ‘drop-down’ list. If the trail name and/or monitor#1 name is not in the drop-down list select the topmost entry (NEW) and, after entering the remaining data, click on “NEW” (near the left-hand side of the bottom row) to open a new worksheet. Data for columns A (Trail-county), B (Trailname) and C (Monitor #1) must be entered. Data for column D (Monitor#1 Email should be entered (if you have one) and data for columns E & F (Monitor Name#2 and Monitor Name#3) are optional.
To enter data into columns A, B, C, E or F open the respective drop-down list by clicking on the arrow to the right-hand side of the cell, and drag the horizontal scroll bar down so that the trail-county is visible and then click on it. Column D (Monitor#1 Email) is free-form; please enter your email address if you have one.
Columns G-J: Enter the number of boxes of each size: small (SmB), standard (StdB) and large (LgB); one or more must be greater than zero. The error indicator in Row 5, column E will indicate the row number in red in which the sum of the boxes is zero. Column J is the total number of boxes on the trail and is calculated automatically.
Columns K – DZ: Enter the total number of nest tries (TN), eggs (TE), hatchlings (FH) and fledglings (TF) for each species for which you have results. For WEBLs (Western Bluebirds), enter these data by brood: 1N, 1E, 1H, and 1F are the numbers of nest tries, eggs, hatchlings and fledglings respectively for brood #1; etc for broods 2 and 3. The error indicator in Row 5, column C will indicate the row number in red if the number of nest tries for that trail summed over all species is zero
Columns EA-EC: Enter any comments you would like to make. Field notes may appear in our newsletter. The text in these fields may exceed the visible column width.
Columns ED-EJ: These columns are for tracking errors and are protected against entry.
If you have entered a new monitor#1 and/or Trailname, click on “NEW” near the left-hand side of the bottom row to open a new spreadsheet which will contain information about the monitor/trail to be added.
Abbreviated data entry instructions appear in the first few rows of the spreadsheet along with row headers. These 5 rows are frozen (and protected against change) so as to be viewable as you enter data. Row 3, column D indicates the row (in this worksheet) in which a monitor or trail name has been entered but the row# (column A) is missing. Otherwise “None Fond” is displayed
Column A: Enter the row number from the data collection worksheet for which you will be entering a new monitor and/or trailname. This must be a number from 10 to 327.
Columns B-H: These columns are used for entering information about a new monitor (one who is not included in the drop-down list for monitor#1 on the data collection worksheet). Data entry is free-form with the exception of the monitor-county (column G); select the monitor-county from the drop-down list.
Columns I-S: These columns are used for entering information about a new trail (one that is not included in the drop-down list for trail names on the data collection sheet . Data entry is free-form with the exception of the trail-county (column I); select the trail-county from the drop-down list. Total Boxes is calculated and protected from entry.
Columns T-W: These columns are used for error calculations and are protected against entry.
Repeat the data entry for each trail and then close the file. You can come back at a latter time to change your data or to see data entered by other trail monitors.
Note about the meaning of
TRAIL: This term is used in the broadest sense. Usually it relates to those boxes monitored/managed by one or two trail monitors. The term could indicate one box in a backyard, hundreds of boxes on a ranch, park, golf course or forest, or a subset of these. I would prefer that each trail monitored by an individual (or small number) is reported separately and not lumped together. If a trail crosses a county boundary, place it in the county in which the majority of the boxes appear. Alternately report the boxes which are in each county using a slightly different trailname in each county.
Comments: Yes, I am aware that we took a step backward in our ability to validate and verify data as well as our ability to enforce consistency of monitor and trail names. Unfortunately this is the penalty for using free, cloud-based, shared data and software. Maybe someone can help me figure out a better approach for the future. I do plan to look for a better approach next year.