There is a scientist in all of us.

Birding is one of the most popular and rapidly growing recreational activities in the United States. Vast quantities of data are recorded by birders and stored in a variety of open digital sources including: submissions to rare bird records committees, breeding bird atlases, birding list-servs and newsletters, and recently through online checklist programs such as eBird. Using these sources I am interested in documenting range expansion and changes in migratory bird phenology using this data. In addition, I am interested in determining how accurately the birding community can detect species declines. Currently I am focusing on analysis of a decade long presence/abscence data set of an avian community documented by a mail carrier, C. Leon Hicks (my father), in south-central Kansas. He has recorded the presence and absence of bird species daily along his mail route for over a decade with over 2/3rds of days surveyed making it one of the most intensely monitored avian communities in the United States.