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New Tools to Make MAPS Data More Accessible

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From the Institute for Bird Populations:

IBP is excited to announce the release of the MAPS Data Exploration Tool, a new web application created to make the MAPS database more accessible and the MAPS program more impactful. The MAPS database is a unique and valuable scientific resource consisting of over 2.5 million bird capture records spanning 33 years and counting. We wanted to make it easier for researchers to use the data and for everyone to understand how bird populations are faring. The web app houses two tools developed by IBP: a data download tool and a results exploration tool.

The MAPS Data Download tool gives researchers access to over 1,850,000 capture records for the years 1992-2018 (additional years will be added as the data is proofed.) The app interface allows users to select the timespan and type of data they are interested in. Data available includes capture records (band numbers, age estimates, mass, wing length, etc. for individual birds), banding station locations, effort and net-hours information, and local breeding status classifications. To date over 280 peer-reviewed research papers and reports using MAPS data have been published by IBP scientists and outside researchers. We hope that this data download toll will encourage even more researchers to investigate bird conservation and other ecology questions using MAPS data.

The Explore MAPS Results app serves as an update to the Vital Rates of North American Landbirds published in 2015. Thirteen additional years of data and newer, improved statistical modeling techniques have been used to create region- and year-specific estimates of demographic parameters. The tool includes estimates or indices for 5 demographic parameters: 1) adult abundance, 2) juvenile abundance, 3) productivity, 4) adult apparent survival, and 5) residency probability for dozens of the more commonly captured bird species. Results for more species, regions, and parameters may be added over time. Users can visualize the results on an interactive map, with pop-up graphs for some parameters, or if they prefer to create their own graphs, they can download the results to visualize as they choose.

Work on the new web application began in 2020 during the pandemic after IBP received generous grants from the Knobloch Family Foundation and Tracy Aviary. MAPS program coordinator and bird banding guru Dani Kaschube and IBP biologist and man-of-many-talents Bob Wilkerson have spent endless hours developing and coding the website, and IBP Research Ecologist Jim Saracco applied his considerable experience with modeling MAPS data to create estimates and indices of demographic parameters.

This amazing team has yet another trick up their sleeves! Another application, just forMAPS station operators, is coming soon. This app will allow operators to use their own capture records to calculate summary statistics (with lovely graphs!) for their stations with just a few clicks. Statistics include standardized captures per year and population and productivity trends, with survival and recapture probabilities to come in future versions. This tool will help operators share professionally analyzed results with stakeholders, land managers and funders. We expect this new app to go online by early summer.

We are so excited for you to dive in and explore the MAPS database with these new tools. The database is an amazing resource for bird conservation and it would not be possible without the hard work and sacrificed sleep of thousands of MAPS banders over 33 years and counting. These banders didn’t wake up at zero-dark-thirty just to fill in numbers on a spreadsheet! Dig in and put the data to good use!

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