How to Count Birds

Jer Thorp

On October 8th, 2015, a team in Ecuador identified 431 species of birds – the world record for number counted in a single day. Earlier that year in Myanmar, a scientist counted one Jerdon’s babbler, the first in nearly eight decades. In December of 2019, eBird announced that its database held over 737 million bird observations. This morning, in Brooklyn Bridge park, I counted 38 house sparrows, 4 black-and-white warblers and an ovenbird. This course will consider birding as a practice, and will dive deep into the processes by which observations become data. As a collective, we will investigate how crowd-sourced data is transforming ornithology, and will explore ways to tell stories about the natural world through visualization and more radical forms of data representation.