Data entry (and just in time)

The month of June, weekends and all, will remain in my mind for eternity as a blur of sunrises, suburbia, and songbirds. The discipline these surveys required still exhausts me when I think I about it. The most difficult aspect, however, was the temporal isolation that a 9:00pm bedtime during college brings. If I were to be at some remote field site, as I have was last summer in Alaska or this past summer in the rainforests of Madagascar, the all powerful force of Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) would not have been so intense. Despite these seemingly undesirable attributes of June, as I look back now it’s hard to regret pushing my personal limits to the extent I did. Because… Now I can analyze the data!!* Quite possibly the best part of the end of a trying field season is that very idea.


Moving on, field surveys are fun, but data analysis is downright sexy. With now two summers worth of data the anticipation has been building for quite some time. For now, though, I still have many days of backlogged data to enter and many promised hours of proofing to 11,000 lines of data. But, I say let the anticipation keep on building, it makes the results that much sweeter, right?


Every field season, be it in the middle of the arctic or inner city, comes with a fair share of interesting encounters, fun facts, etc. Here are a few of mine:

  • An American Bittern flew over during a survey in York County, the first June record of this heron species for the entire peninsula!
  • I don’t have the opportunity to have conversations with many of the homeowners whose homes I survey so the following small world interaction I had with one woman in York County was all the more amazing. As it turns out, one of the houses I surveyed belongs to the grandmother of a classmate of my younger brother who attends a small school in Northern Virginia.
  • A total of 76 species were recorded during surveys, a few more than last year, and many of global conservation concern; very cool for only counting birds in suburbia!
  • I was chased down and questioned by a man in a jeep in connection with a robbery.