Condor Watch has a growing group of thousands of enthusiastic, hard-working volunteers. These volunteers have already produced over 150,000 classifications of images. We have volunteers from every ice-free continent, hailing from over 130 countries!
We have two fabulous and incredibly energetic moderators: Wreness and ElisabethB. Many thanks to both for their hard work monitoring posts and keeping the site fun and productive while both doing mind-blowing numbers of classifications!!
We are pleasantly surprised at the proportion of images that have multiple readable tags, which are yielding good data on social structure and the amount of time different types of individuals use feeding stations.
We expected to see other species besides condors, but we have been amazed by the frequency of other scavengers and the breadth of species seen – including large groups of coyotes, as well as mountain lions, bears, golden eagles, and wild pigs. We will be quantifying carcass use by scavengers so please do hashtag these ‘other’ species you see.
The first few months have not been without some website problems and annoyances, as our volunteers have helped us discover! We will be deploying a series of site updates today that should address many of these issues. Here’s a rundown of the fixes/upgrades:
- Ravens! We have heard the cries of despairs. We do want to know how many ravens are present at carcasses but we confess, we just didn’t realize how tedious it would be to mark large unkindnesses of ravens (how fitting a term for a group of animals) in the same manner that condors are marked. We are happy to announce that marking distance to carcass for ravens is NEVERMORE!
- Carcass/scale marking: We have now removed the marking of scales, and only ask that you mark carcasses. We have included a section in the field guide on the best way to do this.
- Back button: Many have reported that it is too easy to mistakenly press “all animals marked”. To try and stop this from happening we have relocated this button so that it appears under the image being classified.
- Mis-identifications and unknown birds. We have struggled to get the code linking tag information to bird ID working seamlessly, and the site still occasionally reports the wrong bio, or no bio at all. We have added some extra tools behind the scenes to help us troubleshoot this, and we will eventually conquer this problem. However, we want to be very clear for anyone worried about how this affects our science–it doesn’t! We have a complete record of all tag data that each volunteer enters and the science team is assigning bios and assessing consensus using a separate process.
We’ve been posting interesting Condor Watch images and general news about condors to Facebook and Twitter several times a week. We’ve heard feedback that there are still people who are not on Facebook, and so to reach the entire community, we’ll also be posting these to this blog as Condor News and Project Updates.
Finally, there are many places to find more help:
The Field Guide: we’ve added clarifying instructions on how to enter wing tag information, how to enter other species, and how to distinguish turkey vultures from condors
Thanks to our volunteers the world over for their hard work and enthusiasm, which is making our site a success and is making a difference for California Condors! Please keep helping us at www.condorwatch.org