Squirrels in Central Park: The Nuttiest Question

By: David Rosado
Rupal Gupta
Caroline Mao

Humble Beginnings

Our journey through Central Park on April 3rd had one critical goal:
Find and take photos of as many squirrels as possible

Our project was inspired and based on the data collected by New York volunteers through the 2018 Squirrel Census, where volunteers took inventory of the total squirrel population of New York's own Central Park. Volunteers were assigned to different hectares of the park to record squirrel sightings.

As we carried out our 2 hour walkthrough of the north section of Central Park, we began to notice some of the patterns that were reflected in the dataset we analyzed in our project.

Rupal, Caroline, and David at Central Park

Squirrel Colors

Our initial visualization is a simple bar chart that shows how common particular colors of squirrels are in the park.
The data set (as well as our own experience!) shows that gray squirrels are quite the Queens of Central Park.

Find our static visualization code here.

Squirrel Activity Heatmap

The real diversity of our furry friends can be seen in where they are located and what activities they carry out.

Thus, this collection of heatmaps accomplishes 2 main goals.
The first is to showcase the general location of squirrels within the park, as shown in the default presented heatmap. This is allows to see where squirrels can and can't be found (squirrels don't seem to enjoy swimming or the Delacorte Theatre that much!).
The second is to show concentration of different squirrel activities throughout the park, specifically running, chasing, foraging, eating and climbing.

Please note that each individual heatmap has been adjusted so the color scale is based on the maximum value of the individual dataset for each behavior, rather than the maximum of the entire dataset.

Squirrel Activities

If you were curious how many squirrels can be found racing around the park or climbing up the trees,
use this to filter between squirrel activities to see the percentage of squirrels performing each activity!

Running Chasing Climbing Eating Foraging Other

None selected or not updated.

Squirrel Behavior

If you were curious on how many photogenic squirrels are in Central Park (or which won't give you the time of day...)
use this to filter between squirrel activities to see the percentage of squirrels with a specific behavior!

Approaches Runs Away Indifferent Other

None selected or not updated.

Squirrel Map

Use this map to explore squirrels by color, location, activity and fur highlights in Central Park!