Video data

The best thing about using video data is the pause button. Birds – especially tiny songbirds – are small and speedy, and sometimes collecting a minute’s worth of data from a video clip could take almost five minutes. Too often I would have to back up and rewatch a few seconds – was that a white throated sparrow or a house finch? Carolina chickadee or white-breasted nuthatch? Although the video taken from the field sites offered advantages – we could collect data whenever it was convenient instead of having to do field observations at a set time every day – sometimes it was hard to decide which option was better. In the field, blinking or sneezing might mean missing a chickadee’s stop-and-go visit. On the computer screen, the imperfect resolution might mean misidentifying a bird.

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