I assume most of the folks reading this blog are familiar with the mobile app called BirdsEye. BirdsEye was the first (and still the only) app to sync with data in the eBird database at Cornell Lab of Ornithology. By displaying bird location data from eBird onto an expandable map, BirdsEye shows you what birds are being seen nearby, can direct you to birding hotspots, and helps pinpoint the location of "target" birds — like those not on your life list yet.
BirdsEye has been a powerful tool, but initially, "syncing" with eBird was a one-way proposition. That is, your iPhone could receive new data points in the field over 3G, but you could not submit your observations from BirdsEye to eBird on site. Instead, you'd have to go home, fire up your computer, log onto eBird, and do it "the old-fashioned way." Funny how fast these 'appy-type' things go out of vogue…
But that will change soon, according to David Bell, co-owner of BirdsEye. Developers are expecting to roll out their first-generation data-entry from the field feature by late April.
Three other exciting updates are just around the bend:
1. BirdsEye goes to Android. Beta testing starts later this month. This is great news for Android users, who felt a little out of the running when birding apps began to hit the scene.
Across the mobile world, developers are busy playing catch up on the Android OS and the next 12 months should bring more interesting options–especially for birding. This should also give iPhones a run for their money.
2. BirdsEye goes worldwide. In keeping with eBird's recent world-wide expansion, BirdsEye will soon have worldwide coverage. This feature will be useful when traveling beyond US borders. Now, you can finally log the bird when you're standing at the Southmost Preserve and see a Black-vented Oriole flitting in a shrub across the Rio Grande in Mexico land space!
3. Share your sightings: Users will soon be able to share sightings with one another from the field. Send an email to the listserv directly from your device, or send your checklist to your birding buddy via text.
Assuming all goes to plan, these major upgrades should roll out by April or early May.
The full-featured BirdsEye app (with 857 North American species including rare and notables notifications) runs $19.99 in the iTunes store. Or try BirdsEye Lite (135 species) for $1.99.
For more information, go to www.getbirdseye.com.
P.S. Please join us for my presentation on mobile birding apps at the Biggest Week in American Birding this May near the warbler capital of the world (Magee Marsh) along western Lake Erie. Besides giving an overview of the current slate of birding apps, I'll conduct a drawing of free Redeem Codes for your favorite birding apps. Come try your luck!
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