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BirdsEye BirdLog- have it yet?

< Side Note:  I'm still working on some stuff to refine recording bird vocalizations on my iPhone and will update that in my next ABA Blog installment.>

After a quiet "soft launch" period, BirdsEye recently announced a new app for iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPodTouch) & Android that lets users input checklists to eBird directly from their smart device.  While not an eBird or Cornell product, this is the only mobile app using the official eBird data entry API (Application Program Interface).  Team eBird worked closely with the developer to ensure ease of use and maintain top data quality.  eBird endorses this software and a portion of the proceeds support eBird so that's cool, too.  Jump over to eBird's detailed comments about this app here…  Entering checklists from the field has some profound implications- team eBird has also authored some suggested best practices for BirdLog data entry.  The short article is well worth the read if you are going to use the app.

BirdsEye1

I've been using the app for a little over a week now and I think it is great.  Here's what stands out as really nice so far for me:

  • When I'm ready to start a checklist it will pull up hotspots and my personal birding locations based on my device's locating abilities (GPS, cell phone towers, and/or wireless network location.)  You can also create a new location if needed.

BirdsEye2

  • Instead of the entire ABA list, checklists are based on current eBird location & time filters (though of course you can add a rarity that wouldn't be expected in the area.  If so you get a confirmation request similar to the process on the regular web page.)
  • Instead of long scrolls up and down to add birds, you can search by name or, even faster, by banding code.
  • Each time you enter a bird or birds, it will add to whatever you already have.  For example, if I enter 3 RBGU then I'll have three Ring-billed Gulls for the checklist.  If I later see three more, I enter 2 RBGU and my checklist will then show a total of five Ring-billed Gulls.  So it is a sophisticated tally counter in that regard (see below.)

BirdsEyeComp

  • If you aren't a banding code fan, you can also just start typing in the common name and your choices will quickly narrow.  Then you touch the species you want and the new tally will be added (see below.)

Ring-comp

  • If your number is mis-entered (perhaps you change your mind on an ID or whatever,) you can also subtract birds by entering negative numbers.
  • If you begin a checklist when you start birding at a particular site, when you are done it will calculate the time spent birding for you with a single push of a button.
  • Overall it is a lot easier to navigate & enter data through this app on my iPhone than it is to use the eBird site on the small screen!

 

 The app will undoubtedly get better in future updates, and I'd especially like to see:

  • Checklist sharing from the app.
  • Ability to edit submitted checklists (you can edit in-progress lists but once submitted, changes have to be through the eBird site.)
  • Age/Sex/Breeding Code section of comments (currently only the general comments box appears.)
  • For GPS-enabled devices it would be nice if the app could keep track of distance traveled to compliment the automatic timing option.
  • Perhaps a mobile version of the "My eBird" and "Explore Data" stuff- things like personal lists, bar charts, etc.

The developers are very interested in birder feedback, so if you get this app and have ideas for making it better be sure to send along your comments here:  [email protected].  BirdsEye has also put out a nice little demo video to showcase the app- check it out (this shows an earlier version of the software but you'll get the general idea):

 

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