Penguin Watch Talk

Which type of error is worth risking?

  • mwocean by mwocean

    I just started classifying. I am not so sure about eggs.. I think there is one by the clump of grasses in the left foreground and I marked it ,but I wondered if it was preferred to only mark ones you are sure about, and risk missing some.. or the other way around. I could make a comment to go with the image to highlight the uncertain egg, I guess, but I'm sure they don't need comments on every image!!


  • gardenmaeve by gardenmaeve moderator

    Thank you for asking. For the Penguin Watch project we do not guess, ever. The use of crowd sourcing (several people classifying each image) gives a high degree of certainty when those classifications are compared. If there are strong disagreements the Researcher Team knows to check more closely to resolve the differences and gain the most accurate results possible.

    Only eggs inside a nest are counted, never eggs outside a nest or eggshells. Since the parent penguins brood their eggs for temperature control and protection from predators, we see the eggs themselves infrequently. In this photo it is late in the nesting season- see the many chicks forming creche groups? That's a good indicator that any remaining eggs are not's too late, they are no longer being brooded, and they will not hatch.


  • mwocean by mwocean

    Oh boy... I don't see any chicks. Maybe I am not your guy. I love this site, but I wish there were more training images, where one could do their classifying and get feedback, before doing 'real' data collection. It would also be fun to know more about your approach to quality control so decision-making was not nerve-wracking (don't want to introduce errors)--it sounds like it is based somewhat on congruence between multiple citizen-scientist reports, with expert review - that's reassuring. 😃

    Anyway, if I decide to keep clicking, I'll be sure to only click on 'certainties' Thanks for the prompt response.
    This is such a great site/project.


  • AvastMH by AvastMH moderator

    Hello @mwocean I can give you more help so that you feel confident. It's probably easier than you think. 😃 Perhaps this fact will reassure you most, every picture with a penguin in it is seen by about 10 people. By that method we get reliable results. If there are no animals to mark the picture is retired from the run after four responses.

    I'm glad that you have read the FAQs. I'll mark a couple of pictures so that you can see how I do it 😃

    Let's try this picture. The chicks are like teenagers by this date in this place. Some sites you find that the chicks have only just hatched because they live in a much colder place.


    1. If in doubt of the age, mark as an 'adult'. The very distant group just under the date (top left) are too far away for me to see their age so I would mark them as adults.

    2. Teenagers tend to form creches. I have marked two of these on the left side. If you look carefully they have a white front all the way up to their beaks, and they have a band of white feathers at the top of their wing. Also they do not have a clear white headflash (or 'tiara') yet:

    Here's the white bar at the top of the flipper:

    Here's the difference at the top of the chest. The adult has black feathers up to their beak, the chick has white feathers up to the beak:

    And here's the white headflash on an adult (A), and you can see that it does not exist on the chick (C).

    Also chicks do not have those long tail feathers.

    I hope that this helps you. I do find the white bar at the top of the wing and the white feathers from the chest to the beak are great indicators on Gentoo penguins 😃

    Here's a picture with younger chicks. I have a large computer screen so I can see a lot of detail. Some people have smaller screens and cannot tell if a small chick is a chick or a pice of stone. That's why we ask you just to mark what you are sure of....just as simple as that.. I've put a slash through the adults and a spot on, or very near to, the chicks. Again - I hope that this helps you. sadly we cannot see your markings on a picture. Let me know if you need more help 😃


  • mwocean by mwocean

    Thanks to all of you. This helps a lot.