Thursday, February 9, 2012

BirdsEye Bird Log

I discovered a wonderful Android App called BirdsEye Bird Log. The purpose of this app is to produce field checklists and submit them directly from your smart phone to eBird. The app appears to be both intuitive and easy to use.

The most awesome aspect of the app is the ability to enter your location. The Bird Log displays an eBird Google map showing public hotspots and previous personal locations. A tap of your finger, and your location is on your bird list. If you are at a new location, the map shows your exact location. One click enters the new location on to the list complete with location description. If the location description does not suit you, it is easily edited. You can even enter your location from a moving car, though I hope you are not driving at the same time!

Entering birds to the list is easy. As you start entering bird names, the app gives you a list of species choices. This process is even easier for folks who know bird banding alpha codes, as the app accepts these shortcuts. Numbers of individuals observed is also easy to enter. Click on the appropriate box and a numeric keypad appears.

Finally, entering appropriate eBird data is easy. Then click "submit" and your list is sent to eBird. If you need to edit the list, editing can later be done from your home computer.

The program can be found on the Android Market and costs $9.99. As far as apps go, this price is perhaps high. But proceeds support Cornell's eBird and further product development. I think it is worth every penny. Gone are the days of searching for pen and bird list. Also gone is wondering were the heck I am! Go to the market and just search for Birdseye. Be sure to read the product description. You can not use your android to search for birds on ebird. Not yet, but product development is heading in that direction.

3 comments:

  1. Hey Dan,

    What disappoints me about this app is that the functionality it adds was originally promised as a free feature upgrade to the existing BirdsEye app. That app costs $20 but seemed reasonably priced given that they kept promising to add the ability to upload to ebird "soon." Now we see that they have created a separate app with a separate charge. $9.99 isn't going to put any of us in the poor house but I for one would have liked it if they could have kept their promise.

    Who knows, maybe they still plan to integrate the ability to upload lists into BirdsEye but with the release of this on android and the release on iPhone coming some time soon it sure feels like they've had a change of plans and are not going to deliver what they had originally promised for the price of BirdsEye.

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  2. Thanks for this review, Dan. I look forward to its making it to the iPhone in due time. There are other apps that let you tap into recent eBird sightings when you are out and about - the regular BirdsEye app and the most recent Audubon bird guide are two that are available for iPhone etc., but maybe those are not out on Android yet.

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  3. Hi Kirk,
    At BirdsEye we'd love for everything to be free, but we have worked for years on this without pay and in addition have invested significant money. This is a labor of love to support eBird and bird conservation.

    Our original business model just didn't pan out as we had hoped. We've had to change it to be able to continue developing new features and to also develop android versions. We seriously underestimated the challenges (time and software engineering complexity) this project would throw in our way, especially to achieve the quality that eBird needs and deserves. But now we are back on track. You can expect a lot of new stuff over the next year. Stay tuned.

    And Penelope, we are in the final stages of beta testing the iPhone version of BirdsEye Log. You can already see a demo of it here:
    http://bit.ly/zXUg1S

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