Since this is the first season we have spent chasing and watching Cardinalids, we have learned many things by making mistakes. At the beginning of the summer, we discussed the need to enter our data, such as nest watches, spot maps, and photo information, into the computer immediately upon returning from the field. However, as time went on, we forgot about our previously established and somewhat ambitious protocol. Consequently, many nest watches were left unentered. Blissfully ignorant of this, we began compiling and standardizing the nest watches we had entered into the computer into one large, colorful spreadsheet. We excitedly sorted and analyzed it using a program called JMP that allowed us to easily calculate means and standard deviations, as well as perform t tests. After making three beautiful graphs using these calculations, we decided it would be a good idea to make sure all the data sheets had been entered. At this point, you may be wondering why we didn’t make sure all the data was in the computer before analyzing it. We’re still wondering that…
After rediscovering and entering the extra nest watches, some of which were painfully long, we again went through the process of compiling and analyzing our data. While I can’t say that those were the best few days of the field season, I can say that we are all now fairly competent with JMP and have each only had a few spreadsheet-related nightmares since then.
So, (drumroll please) here are the new and improved graphs!
From this, we learned the importance of immediate data entry, how to make fancy graphs, and that a trip to Waffle Frolic is the best way to end a day of data.