Black Bawks Data Science

Dependable data services from the Highlands of Scotland

About us

What is a "Black Bawk"?

In Newfoundland, Canada, a "Black Bawk" is known in the common vernacular as the Sooty Shearwater (Puffinus griseus). This medium-sized seabird is one of the most numerous and wide-ranging seabirds, the deepest diving Procellariiform, and engages in one of the most incredible migratory journeys of any avian species. The Black Bawk represents one of the most amazing animals on earth, and symbolizes resilience and tenacity despite difficult odds.


Who is Black Bawks?

Black Bawks data science is a small organization with a focus on providing quality data services. Although Black Bawks focuses on environmental and ecological programs, we offer a number of services that meet the needs of a variety of business enterprises. We have over a decade of experience with machine learning technologies for prediction, Geographic Information Systems and statistical analysis. Our scientific background makes us well placed to answer questions pertinent to your everyday operations

Where are we located?

Black Bawks is a home operated business located in the beautiful village of Fort Augustus, Scotland. This means that we are able to keep operating costs very low, which allows us to pass savings onto our customers. We operate with the latest software and security, keeping your data safe while providing fast, effective service. Black Bawks strives to bring data services to rural communities in order to allow them to keep up with the fast paced world often found in the big city.

Our services

   Data analysis

We specialize in decision tree machine learning algorithms (Check out This explanation ), with strong emphasis on predictive analytics and determination of mechanistic understanding of systems based on model experimentation. Black Bawks also uses deep learning methods with the latest tools derived in Python and the R programming languages (A great overview of the top languages can be found here ). Currently we are working with image classification schemes as well using Google's TensorFlow algorithms.

   Website/application design

We work with some of the latest web frameworks to create highly interactive applications. Check out some of the cool applications we are involved with creating! We also build static pages to help your local business get recognized.

   Mapping services

Our team are experienced Geographic Information Systems (GIS) specialists, working primarily within the ArcGIS framework. Whether it be for publications, websites, posters or presentations, we offer competitive rates on mapping services catered to your needs.

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   Environmental Consultation

The Blackbawks team has a variety of experience in field survey and study design. We can help your development go from data collection to analysis in preparation for important Environmental impact assessments. Our expertise lies primarily with marine and terrestrial birds and mammals, as well as forest and landscape ecology.

Some work we have been involved with on Economic viability of weed control can be FOUND HERE



Our team has been involved in a variety of projects and strives to publish whenever possible. Below are some selected publications


Avery-Gomm S., Hammer S., Humphries G.R.W. 2016. The Age of the Twitter Conference. Science. 352: 1404.

Humphries G.R.W., Kappes P.J., Kappes M.A., Orben R.A., Wille M., Mcduie F., Major H., Flemming S.A., Schmid M.S., Hammer S., McOmber K., Hirata, K., Magnusdottir E. 2016. Recommendations for Encouraging Recruitment and Retention of Early Career Scientists in Professional Scientific Societies. Marine Ornithology. 44(2): 157 – 166.


Joiris C.R., Humphries G.R.W., D’Hert D., Lafontaine R-M., Robert H., Beudels-Jamar R.C. 2015 Major hotspots detected along the Scotia Ridge in autumn for southern right whales Eubalaena australis, Antarctic fur seals Arctocephalus gazelle and Antarctic prions Pachyptila desolata. Advances in Polar Research. 26(4): 282-291.

Joiris C.R., Humphries G.R.W., De Broyer A. 2015 Summer distribution of marine mammals encountered along transects between South Africa and Antarctica during 2007 – 2012 in relation to hydrological features. Advances in Polar Science. 26(4): 265 – 273.

Hart K.A., Choi C-Y., Bond A.L., Humphries G.R.W., Yoo J-C., Nam K-B. 2015. The distribution and status of the streaked shearwater (Calonectris leucomelas) in the Korean Peninsula. The Forktail. 31: 55-63.

Huettmann, F., Schmid, M., Humphries, G.R.W. 2015. A first overview of open access digital wilderness data for the Ross Sea: New Complexities, Management Opportunities and an additional set of Ethical Dilemmas during Globalization. Hydrobiologica. 761:97 - 119. DOI 10.1007/s10750-015-2520-x.

Humphries G.R.W. 2015. Estimating regions of oceanographic importance for seabirds using a-spatial data. PLoS ONE. 10(9): e0137241. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0137241.

Humphries G.R.W., Velarde, E., Anderson, D.W., Haase, B., Sydeman, W.J. 2015. Seabirds as early warning indicators of climate events in the Pacific. PICES Press. Vol 23. No.1 pp 18.


Humphries G.R.W., F. Huettmann. 2014. Arctic Seabirds: In: A. Hund (ed.) Antarctica and the Arctic Circle: A Geographic Encyclopedia of the Earth's Polar Regions. Vol 1. pp. 95-98. http://www.abc-clio.com/.

Abraham E., Agnew D., Agnew P., Aikman H., Allen N., Angus I., Baird K., Baker B., Barnard T., Bartle S., Beauchamp T., Bell B., Bell B., Bell M., Bellingham M., Berg M., Bettesworth D., Bevin B., Bird J., Blyth R., Borrelle S., Borker A., Bradfield P., Britton M., Buurman D., Buurman L., Chappell R., Cockburn S., Cooper W., Cranwell S., Cronin E., Crossland A., Croxall J., Cryer M., Cuming P., Debski I., Dennis T., Deppe L., Dobbins P., Dowding J., Dunnett B., Edmonds H., Ellenburg U., Elliot G., Esler L., Fitter J., Fitzgerald N., Fleming A., Freeman D., Frost P., Galbraith M., Garson L., Gaze P., Gordon D., Goldsworthy R., Grant A., Greene B., Hackwell K., Haley M., Hand K., Hawkins K., Heaphy J. Higham T., Hiscock J., Hopkins C., Houston D., Hughey K., Humphries G.R.W., Irvine J. and Ismar S.M.H. 2014 New Zealand Seabirds : Important Bird Areas and Conservation The Royal Forest & Bird Protection Society of New Zealand, Wellington, New Zealand. ISBN 978-0-473-28521-0.

Humphries G.R.W., Bragg, C., Overton, J., Lyver P., Moller, H. 2014. Pattern recognition in long-term sooty shearwater (Puffinus griseus) data: applying machine learning to create a harvest index. Ecological Applications. 24(8): 2107-2121. DOI 10.1890/13-2023.1.

Humphries G.R.W., Huettmann F. 2014. Putting models to a good use: Arctic seabird predictions indicate heavy conflicts with proposed and current shipping lanes. Diversity and Distributions. 20(4): 478-490. DOI: 10.1111/ddi.12177.

Mapping Application for Penguin Populations and Projected Dynamics

MAPPPD can be found at penguinmap.com and contains the most comprehensive and complete census data for Antarctic penguins in the world. All data are open access with cited sources and metadata located in the Global Change Master Directory. MAPPPD contains Bayesian models which project population dynamics through time with interactive and downloadable figures. It is currently being considered as a management tool within the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).

New methods for evaluating ecological models

Ecological models are often evaluated using statistical techniques like cross validation (used for model accuracy), and Information Criterion (used for model selection). Black Bawks is involved in research attempting to develop new methods of statistical evaluation and model selection which account for spatial and temporal relationships within datasets.

Seabirds.net and the Seabird information network

In coordination with Dragonfly data science, Black Bawks has played a role in development of seabirds.net, a web-portal which connects seabird researchers from around the world. Seabirds.net is home to the Seabird Information Network, and the Global seabird colony register created by Axiom data science.

Current support by:

Contact Us

24 Abertarff Place
Fort Augustus, Scotland
PH32 4DR
United Kingdom

Logo © Catherine C. Humphries, 2016

All material on this website are © Black Bawks 2016