Frequently Asked Questions:
A: In our experience, one hundred percent of the times BirdsEye was not playing sounds it has been because the mute button was on or the volume was turned all the way down. It sounds simple, but it can actually be confusing because some apps, such as iTunes, do not "obey" the mute button. As a result, it may seem like your sound is working for other apps but not for BirdsEye. Still, the mute button (or volume control) is the key to solving this problem.
Here's what to do: the mute button on the iPhone/iPad Touch is located on the upper left side of the iPhone. If you can seen orange, then the mute is turned on (and you won't hear sound from BirdsEye!). Flip the switch so that you can no longer see orange.
On the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch there is a volume control. It's a toggle switch... hit the lower half and the sound gets quieter until it is totally turned off. Hit the upper half and the volume increases. If the sound is turned all the way down then you will not hear any sound from BirdsEye.
If you confirm that your sound is not muted by the mute button, and still are having problems with BirdsEye sound, please let us know. We'll work with you figure out what is happening and how to fix it.
Q: There was a rare bird reported yesterday in my area, but it doesn't show up in BirdsEye. Why not?
A: Here's how BirdsEye works: Sightings of rare birds generally appear in BirdsEye within an hour of being confirmed by the eBird reviewer. However, eBird reviewers can take anywhere from minutes to weeks to review and confirm records, and unfortunately that process is out of our hands.
We get people writing to ask about situations like this, and most often the sightings is not showing up yet because it is waiting for review by eBird. Other possible reasons include: that the sighting was marked invalid or is less than 30 minutes old.
But here's a trick! Sightings that have not yet been reviewed by eBird do appear in one spot in BirdsEye: Go to "Notable Sightings and Rare Birds", at the top, select "Rare" and below that select "All" (i.e. not "confirmed"). That allows you to see all reports of rare birds in your area immediately, including unconfirmed reports. If a report does not appear there, it means that it was marked invalid by the ebird reviewer. In the upper left, there is a settings icon. Tap on that to be sure that the distance for rare birds is set for a long enough distance to include the location of the sighting.
To report birds that then appear in BirdsEye, you need to join the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's eBird program at eBird.org. It's free and easy. Follow directions there for submitting observations.
Once you have an eBird account, you can use BirdLog to submit your sightings easily and quickly from your iPhone or Android.
Pete Myers has created a number of short videos that are an excellent way to get up to speed on BirdsEye and BirdLog:
A: We are working on an Android version now and will be releasing it sometime later this year.
BirdLog, our app for submitting your sightings to eBird while still in the field, is available now for both Android and iOS.
A: Yes: On the 'Select birding location' page, find the location you want to bookmark by using the search bar or the list of recent locations. It will appear at the top of the list of 'recents' hit the button on the right to add it to the list of bookmarked locations.
A: To delete a location from the bookmarked list, swipe it. the delete button will appear
Yes, the standard version of BirdsEye will work on the iPad. However, the graphics are designed for iPhone, so they look a tiny bit grainy on iPad.
BirdsEye HD is a separate standalone app especially designed to take full advantage of the iPad's large scree and stunning high resolution display.
Q: I don’t want my personal location shown on the website when I report a sighting. How can I do that?
A: Most of the sightings in eBird are available to the public.
If you do not take specific steps to make your data private, then the precise locations of your sightings will be available to the public through the eBird website, BirdsEye, and various rare bird alerts. See the ebird website for more information about this important topic.
There are several things you can do to protect the privacy of data you enter into eBird.
This is a good idea in several circumstances: first, it is a good idea to not make public the precise locations of nests or roosting sites of rare or sensitive species, including raptors.
Second, you may want the location of birds on private property kept private.
eBird provides a couple of ways that you can protect the privacy of your sightings.The first thing you can do, when you enter data into eBird, is to "hide" the data so that it will not appear in eBird output. After you have created a checklist, select the text near the bottom of the right side of the page that says "Hide from public output." The second thing you can do is to move the location slightly (and name it appropriately) in order to disguise the precise location. When doing this, you should make sure to maintain the integrity of the eBird database by making sure that the name of the location is accurate and meaningful. For example, instead of placing the marker for a sighting in your yard (e.g. "home" or "1819 N Grand Elm Ave, Altadena"), you could instead place it at a nearby intersection and give the location a general name for the area (e.g. "East Altadena" or "Grand Elm Ave x Berendo Dr area, Altadena).
Hotspots are created by eBird.org. We then incorporate them into BirdsEye automatically. To create a hotspot in eBird.org you must register for an eBird account (free and easy). Then follow their directions for how to recommend a location as a hotspot. How quickly this happens depends upon the eBird editor for your area.
A: Yes. We get this question often. There are many active birders in populated parts of Canada. See this video for an example of using BirdsEye in Canada.
A: Our mission with BirdLog is to get as much high quality data as possible into eBird and also to help support eBird financially. Getting more data into eBird will be good for BirdsEye users, scientists and the birding community. We felt that creating a combined app would result in an app that was bigger (>250 megabytes), slower and overly complex for an initial release. Because of the resulting size and cost it would have been inaccessible to many users. We wanted BirdLog to be small, simple and fast -- a single-purpose eBird data entry tool.
Adding BirdLog to BirdsEye is more complex than it might seem at first glance. Users are required to sign in and register with eBird in order to use BirdLog and we need to store the credentials. Because of the way iTunes works, that change would would require us to launch it as a new app rather than as an upgrade to BirdsEye, so existing BirdsEye users couldn't get it as an upgrade but would have to purchase the new app. That didn't seem like a good option.
As an aside, we surveyed existing BirdsEye users and prospective BirdLog users. What we found surprised us: there was very little overlap (less than 30%) between those people who want BirdLog and those who want BirdsEye. Most people want one or the other but not both, and most were not willing to pay more for the features they didn't want. Also, many BirdsEye users are casual birders who have never used eBird and we were uneasy with putting an new, powerful data entry tool into their hands until it had been thoroughly vetted by experienced eBird users. By launching BirdLog as a separate app focused exclusively on existing eBird users we are more confident that it will not lead to a reduction in data quality.
Still, we recognize that this was judgement call and that neither choice was perfect. We made the best decision we could based on what we thought would generate the most high-quality data for eBird.
That said, we do hope to offer a combined version at some point for those users (like you and me!) who want both.
A: BirdsEye is $19.99.
BirdsEye HD is a separate, stand alone product designed for the iPad and also sells for $19.99
BirdLog, our app for submitting your sightings to eBird while still in the field, is available now for both Android and iOS. The introductory price is $9.99.