The PA 150 Ticks Project

Recently, there was a challenge issued on the PA Birders facebook page that, as a community, we should attempt to report 150 species to eBird for each county. I thought this was a worthy challenge and so I made some maps of the eBird data from 2011 for inspiration. In 2011, we managed 11,362 county ticks with all our effort combined. This is an average of 170 species reported per county which is excellent, but of course the ticks were not spread out evenly. Last year, 44 counties reached 150 species. Counting 150 for each of those counties, plus the actual number for the counties that did not reach 150, we end up with 9,243 ticks, which is 92% of the 10,050 ticks from all 67 counties reaching the goal.

In this first map, the counties in red did not reach the 150 species threshold reported to eBird last year. The counties in green surpassed 150 species last year. The second map splits it into more categories.

It would be fantastic for eBirders to head out to some of the red counties occasionally and bird new areas. In addition, we would love to see birders who live in the red counties start using eBird if they aren’t already.

Some tips for valuable eBird checklists.

  1. Enter checklists at as precise a location as possible. County level checklists don’t provide much valuable data to eBird and are not included in number of species seen in that county. 
  2. Limit traveling checklists to less than 5 miles. Longer distances will often have you driving through different habitats and result in birds being recorded at locations they may not actually use.
  3. Break your birding up into multiple checklists if you are traveling from spot to spot
  4. Provide additional details/photos on any unusual birds you find to make it easy for the county eBird reviewer to quickly verify the sighting.

Pass or Fail map for 2011

counties colored by how many species were reported to eBird