The data rescue intern:
Marc Olivier Beausoleil
The Canadian Nocturnal Owl Survey (NOS) aims to better understand the population trends of nocturnal owls, but also provide insights in owls’ habitat use and how this information can improve land management and conservation practices. The NOS has produced an incredible amount of data from volunteers across Canada for over 20 years.
The goal of this internship was to finalize the data entry from two locations: Alberta and Nova Scotia (more specifically, Cape Breton). A previous LDP intern (Jacob Hubner) started the process of data entry, especially for Alberta. I build upon Jacob’s work by entering the data from Cape Breton and finalizing the data entry for Alberta.
A key component when working with data manipulation is to keep a “log file” and a “README” of all the work that is being done and the decisions taken. I decided to generate a log file, which consists of a spreadsheet, in which I kept track of all the data files that needed to be entered in the database or at least needed to be verified. This proved extremely useful to go back to some data that was entered for verification. The README contains all the questions that I had during the internship and the answers, when it was relevant to attach to the questions.
In the end, for Alberta only, 1945 unique surveys will be added to NatureCounts repository managed by Birds Canada. This includes 20,759 lines of data (each survey has multiple data points). For Cape Breton, I added 186 surveys which were directly entered in the NatureCounts online portal. Together, the data will complete the nationwide survey of the owls. This will allow researchers to have a better picture of the trends in the owls populations across Canada.
I am looking forward to seeing what information we will gain from this dataset in future publications.