Celeb or stranger? Study weighs Americans' interest in birds

ABC News | 6/21/2018 | Staff
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Whooping cranes, common ravens and peregrine falcons are among the celebrities of the sky in the eyes of Americans, even those who've never laid eyes them.

The ruffed grouse or purple martin? They're like friends you might chat with. The wrentit and the Abert's towhee are like the neighbors you don't talk to much. As for the Hammond's flycatcher and the Brewer's sparrow, Americans don't care much about them at all.

Word - Study - Range - Relationships - People

That's the word from a new study that aimed to define "a range of relationships between people and birds" across the United States, said Justin Schuetz, one of the authors.

The project included studying Google searches performed from 2008 to 2017 to get some idea about what Americans think about 621 bird species. Researchers knew where each search came from. They also knew the natural range of each species and how often it is sighted in specific places, based on a national database.

Question - Google - Data - Interest - Species

One key question was whether the Google data revealed more interest in each species than one would expect in various locations, based on how often it is sighted in those places. Another question was how much the interest in each species was limited to its natural range, or spilled out beyond it.

So birds in the "celebrity" category are those that attracted more Google attention than one would expect from how often they're seen, and whose popularity extended outside of their natural range. They have "a reputation beyond where they live," Schuetz explained.

Friends - Enemies - Category - Species - Google

Next came the "friends or enemies" category, which included species that get more Google attention than expected, but mostly in the states...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ABC News
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