BBS Data Tutorial

First, get to the right webpage, click the button that says “Retrieve Raw Data” and then “Proceed to FTP site.” There, you’ll find lots of files, including README’s with data descriptions.

  1. Look at README.txt to see what each of the listed files includes.
  2. Grab useful information: I recommend you download…
    1. I use the CSV in this folder for location data for the routes.
    2. The CSV in this folder has a lot of useful information (beyond just weather); it has all the information about each run of a BBS route (e.g., the observer ID number, the run protocol, etc.).
    3. SpeciesList.txt: self-explanatory but necessary; this is the list of AOU codes in the BBS data, matched up with species names. This is important because there have been code revisions over the years, so grabbing the list from elsewhere may be inconsistent.
  3. Get the data: click on the “States” folder, and each state’s BBS record of data is zipped into a folder.
  4. Unzip all folders
    1. put all the BBS data (i.e. the states) CSV’s into one folder
    2. put info CSV’s and files into another
    3. convert that SpeciesList.txt into a CSV so you can import it later
  5. Import your data into R and get it into a workable format.

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