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Tuesday, April 10 • 10:00am - 10:15am
SYMPOSIA-09: Check out That Bird! Observations of Birds in Chicago from Social Media and Crowd-Sourced Data

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AUTHORS: Bianca Lopez, National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC); Emily Minor, University of Illinois at Chicago

ABSTRACT: As technology allows people to spend more time indoors and in front of screens, city dwellers are increasingly disconnected from nature, a phenomenon known as the extinction of experience. However, biodiversity conservation efforts in cities can provide opportunities for people to experience and learn about the natural world. In this study, we used publicly available data on observations of birds from three different social media and crowdsourcing websites—eBird, iNaturalist, and Flickr— to identify locations where people observe birds in Chicago. These websites have very different aims and users: eBird is used by birders to keep track of their bird observations, including organized point-count and transect sampling; iNaturalist is a platform for citizen science projects using species observation data, as well as for non-experts to obtain expert identification of the species they photograph; and Flickr is a photo-sharing site often used by professional photographers. While hardly representing the general population, these data together provide information about three sets of people: birders, biodiversity enthusiasts, and photographers. We pulled georeferenced data on bird observations from these sites within a bounding box around the city of Chicago, and used land use data from the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) to categorize the locations where these observations took place. Most observations were on public lands, but we found differences in the types of locations where people observed birds in the three datasets, with eBird users more frequently observing birds in residential areas and a much higher proportion of iNaturalist observations occurring on conservation land. In contrast, more than half of Flickr photos of birds were taken in open space that is primarily used for recreation. These results provide insight into the appreciation of biodiversity in cities, and may be useful for guiding targeted urban conservation and education efforts.

Tuesday April 10, 2018 10:00am - 10:15am CDT
Adams Room