The following chart summarizes my family’s evidence for birds breeding at Columbus Park over the past five years. (Columbus is a Chicago Park District property on the far west side of the city.) The chart is based on eBird breeding code data collected in the park from late May through September (depending on the species) from 2011 to 2015. During that time I walked a transect through the park three or more times a month and entered breeding code data for pretty much every bird that could possibly breed there (and some that were only visiting).
Putting this together was a rather tedious process that included:
- Downloading an Excel file with all my eBird data.
- Doing a sequence of sorts until I had just the Columbus Park data from the relevant years and months.
- Going through that file and marking the highest breeding code for each species for each year.
- Developing a separate Excel page that produced the chart shown below, and then coloring and labeling each cell “by hand.” The chart includes a brief description of the code rather than its abbreviation. The description for a species is in italics if that species achieved that level on the code, but other evidence suggests that it never fledged any young within the park.
- Transforming the Excel chart into a gif. (I just pasted it into Photoshop transformed it there.)
- Uploading the gif version into this blog post.
Here’s the URL for the gif version, if you are interested: https://neighborhoodnature.files.wordpress.com/2016/01/columbus-breeders-2011-2015.gif
By the way, this chart underestimates the importance of the park for breeding birds, because it does not include birds that nest outside the park but visit it daily for water (Chimney Swifts) and/or food for their young (Great Blue Herons and Caspian Terns).