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BirdsEye Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: My copy of BirdsEye stopped working. What can I do?

Q: What is the difference between the new BirdsEye  (and other regional versions) and the original BirdsEye?

Q: Should I buy BirdsEye East, West, & Hawaii separately, or just get BirdsEye?

Q: What information is in the abundance bar charts?

Q: What information is in the "nearby" and "recent" tabs?

Q: I'm having a problem with the app, how do I get help?

Q: The sounds aren't working. What's wrong?

Q: There was a rare bird reported yesterday in my area, but it doesn't show up in BirdsEye. Why not?

Q: How do I report bird sightings?

Q: Are there any videos that would help me learn more about BirdsEye and BirdLog?

Q: Is BirdsEye available for the Android or Kindle Fire?

Q: Will BirdsEye work on iPad?

Q: What is a BirdsEye Membership and why do we offer it?

Q: How do I cancel my BirdsEye Membership?

Q: I don’t want my personal location shown on the website when I report a sighting. How can I do that?

Q: How can I create a Hotspot?

Q: Does BirdsEye work well in Canada?

Q: When will a combined version of BirdLog and BirdsEye be available?

Q: How much do BirdsEye and BirdLog cost?

Q: Sometimes in "Browse Birds" I do not see my "Needs" listed, or I may see birds that are already on my list. Can you tell me what is happening?

Q: I heard that I get a free app for submitting photos.  How does that work?

Q: Do you have any specific instructions for cropping and resizing photos for submitting them to BirdsEye? I use iPhoto.

Q: I submitted photos yesterday.  Why can’t I see them in BirdsEye yet?

Q: How can I make corrections to photo identifications, plumages, copyrights or URLs?

 

 


Q: My copy of BirdsEye stopped working. What can I do?

The original BirdsEye and the 5-year-old database that supports it have been on its last legs for several months now and in the last few days it has been a constant struggle to keep the server running. It seems strange to say, but software has a life cycle and the original BirdsEye is reaching the end of its life.

On May 9 we released an upgrade that fixes this problem because it uses a new database on a new server. Note that this upgrade requires iOS7. This upgrade also includes some major improvements over the original: more species, more photos, eBird life list sync, bar charts and a bunch of other things. For more information about the upgrade you can read our blog post: http://www.birdseyebirding.com/index.php/news-a-reviews/blog

We'd love to hear your feedback on the new upgrade.

Q: What is the difference between the new BirdsEye  (and other regional versions) and the original BirdsEye?

We embarked on a ground-up rebuild of BirdsEye and added a lot of cool new features.   The new BirdsEye provides  useful new features not in the original, including:
▪ the ability to import eBird life and year lists for any country, state or county
▪ display local abundance charts for all nearby birds based on a radius that you select from 1 to 50 miles
▪ see which of the local birds are "needs" (i.e. they aren't already on your list)
▪ provide regional versions covering much of the world
▪ the ability to change the naming convention for birds from a large number of eBird naming options including US, UK and Australian English, Scientific, Spanish and French

Check out this unpolished demo video for a look at how it works.

Upgrades: BirdsEye 1.8 was released on May 9 as a free upgrade for all BirdEye users.

Android Support?: We want to roll it out for Android when we have sufficient financial support to do that.  Supporting Android is likely to be unprofitable, but it is important for our mission of promoting eBird, especially among younger users and birders outside of the US.

For more detail on how the New BirdsEye NA compares to the original, check out our comparison chart.


Q: Should I buy BirdsEye East, West, & Hawaii separately, or just get BirdsEye?

A: BirdsEye East, West, and Hawaii added together are sometimes less expensive than BirdsEye. We do that because these versions serve a different purpose.  The three together are not intended to collectively encompass all of the species in North America, nor is having all three a substitute for the full version of the app.

East, West and Hawaii are incredibly useful tools with all of the same bar charts and other features of BirdsEye.  The list of birds is the main difference.  The purpose of these regional versions is to make life easier for local birders who don't want or need to see every rarity that could possibly occur in North America.  The list of birds included in each regional version is just the regularly-occuring birds in those areas, which helps keep things simple.   

Birders who want to know about every regularly occuring bird in North America plus vagrants from Siberia, Mexico or Europe will need BirdsEye North America. As you know, there is no precise definition of East and West, (although Hawaii is pretty clear), so we don't recommend trying to be too exact about it.  As a general guideline, East = east of but not including the Rocky Mountains and associated mountain ranges.  West = from the Rocky Mountains west.   This definition is similar to that of other bird guides, such as Peterson or Sibley.  It does however produce some oddities: The large majority of Canada and even parts of Alaska are considered part of the "east" because from a biological standpoint they are more similar to the east than the west The Lower Rio Grande Valley has connections to both east and west and neither version includes every common species in this area.  

If you're looking for birds in the Lower Rio Grande, then you probably need BirdsEye North America A few cities, such as Calgary, Denver and Austin, are pretty much smack-dab on the dividing line between east and west. Most birders know whether they are in the east or west.  Florida and New York are in the east; California and Washington State are in the west.  Colorado?  Well, it depends what part of the state you're talking about.   The eastern plains are "kind of" in the east and the mountains are definitely in the west.  El Paso, Texas: west; Houston, Texas: east.

If you are confused about which version to buy, I recommend thinking about what you want:  If you want a simple, easy-to-use app that includes the common birds in your area, then the regional versions should be perfect (unless you live on or near the dividing line, such as in Denver or the Lower Rio Grande Valley).   if you want and need an app that includes the rarities in your area, then you should get BirdsEye North America.

Dave


eagle abundanceQ: What information is in the abundance bar charts?

A: we assemble bar charts from all eBird sightings within the specified search distance in about the last 5 years.  It is in fact slightly more complicated than this because for longer distances we use a tiling system to speed up the response time, so it is possible that at 25 or 50 mile/km you could see a few birds that are a little further away than the actual search distance.  We have chosen 5 years because in some areas older data can be misleading.  For all of the details on the Abundance Charts, please see: http://birdseyebirding.com/abundance-graphs

 


 

Q: What information is in the "nearby" and "recent" tabs?

A: Nearby is the list of all birds in the last 5 years that have a valid eBird sighting within the specified search distance.   Recent includes those birds that have been seen in the specified search distance AND in the specified timeframe (1, 2 or 4 weeks)


 

Q: I'm having a problem with the app, how do I get help?

A: We try to keep the Support Forum up to date with answers to any current problems.

You can also contact our Help Desk by one of the following methods:

  1. Send an email to directly to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  2. You can also send an email from within the app:
    (a) in BirdsEye tap the little information icon on the home screen, and tap the "Send Us Feedback" link
    (b) in BirdLog look under the "Help" menu for the same link

Q: The sounds aren't working. What's wrong?

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. 


Q: How do I report bird sightings?

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 phone.

 


Q: Are there any videos that would help me learn more about BirdsEye and BirdLog?

Pete Myers has created a number of short videos that are an excellent way to get up to speed on BirdsEye and BirdLog:

BirdsEye Videos

BirdLog Videos

Introduction to BirdsEye BirdLog

Using BirdLog in Patagonia Lake State Park

 


Q: Will BirdsEye work on iPad?

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.

 


Q: What is a BirdsEye Membership and why do we offer it?

We offer BirdsEye memberships as a voluntary way for users to support ongoing improvements in BirdsEye.  We focus on the relatively small number of moderately to very serious birders who want instant access.  However, even our love for this project and the relatively small amount of money we bring in from app sales are not enough to support ongoing upgrades and improvements to BirdsEye.  Most of our budget comes from donations and other forms of support from users.

You can support us at whatever level is comfortable for you by visiting our donation page, or you can purchase a membership from within BirdsEye by going to Settings => Membership.

Note that memberships and other donations are not tax deductable.  We don't believe that spending thousands of dollars per year to apply for an comply with tax exempt status is the best use of your money.  

 


Q: How do I cancel my BirdsEye Membership?

If you purchased a BirdsEye Membership through the BirdsEye app, here is how to cancel your membership:

If you want to view your app subscriptions:

  1. From your device's Home screen, tap App Store.
  2. Tap Featured at the bottom of the screen.
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the page.
  4. Tap the Apple ID button in the lower-left corner. (If you are not signed in, tap the Sign In button, and sign in with your Apple ID. Then, scroll back to the bottom of the page, and tap the Apple ID button.)
  5. Tap the View Apple ID button.
  6. Enter your password and tap OK.
  7. From the main account page, scroll down and tap Manage App Subscriptions. If you don't have app subscriptions this button will not be displayed.
  8. You'll then be taken to your App Subscriptions page.

To turn off auto-renewal:

  1. From your Manage App Subscription page, choose an app subscription.
  2. Tap the subscription category for which you want to disable auto-renewal.
  3. Tap On to toggle the switch to Off.
  4. You'll receive a confirmation message; tap Turn Off to confirm your choice.

For more information from Apple on how to cancel an iTunes subscription, see this page: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4098

 


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).

 


Q: How can I create a Hotspot?

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.

 


Q: Does BirdsEye work in Canada?

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.

 


Q: When will a combined version of BirdLog and BirdsEye be available?

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.

 


Q: Sometimes in "Browse Birds" I do not see my "Needs" listed, or I may see birds that are already on my list. Can you tell me what is happening?

A: If this happens, here are some things to try:

Connection: BirdsEye NA needs a connection to work. You can tell if you have a good connection if the "Recent" tab shows a list of birds. If not, you should check your connection.

eBird login: By default when you first install BirdsEye NA, the life list starts out blank. In order to fetch your life/year lists from eBird for you, BirdsEye needs your eBird login information. If you go to "My Bird List" and it is blank, this could be the problem. You can enter your eBird login: from the main/home screen, go to "Settings" => "My Profile and eBird Login" and enter your eBird login there.

Set your list area: You can set your list area to any of the regions supported by eBird down to the county level. You can also select either life or year lists for any region. Note that BirdsEye starts by loading your World Life List by default. BirdsEye does not automatically change your list area when you move around, so you will need to change it manually whenever you want to display a different list. On the main/home screen, you should see an item that says "My Bird List:" followed by the Region name and a number. If the number is 0 then Step 1 or 2 above might be the problem. However, if you see that the region is different than what you want, you can change it by going to "My Bird List" => "Edit" => "Change List Area" and then follow the directions to select a Country/Region, State, County and then Year or Life.

After your new list loads then you should see a different list of needs in "Browse Birds" and "Nearby Notable Birds".


Q: I heard that I get a free app for submitting photos. How does that work?

People who submit one or more usable photos get a free copy of any of our apps, for themselves or a friend, plus an additional copy for every 20 additional photos. To submit a photo, go to http://www.birdsinthehand.com/photos/ and take a minute to read the instructions there. If you have any questions please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Usually we recognize new photographer names as they come in. However, you can also email us to claim your free app at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


Q: Do you have any specific instructions for cropping and resizing photos for submitting them to BirdsEye? I use iPhoto on a Mac.

Instructions for cropping photos for BirdsEye using iPhoto on a Mac.  The following directions are pretty detailed, but hopefully I've included a few tricks that will save you some time.

  1. Organize a batch of photos that you want to submit into a folder on your computer.  I like to give them names that make them easy to recognize, like "Cardinal Northern" or "NOCA 1"
  2. Select them all and drag them to the iPhoto program icon (in your tray or Applications folder) to import them into iPhoto
  3. After they are imported, they should in the "Last Import" page, which should be in front of you
  4. Select the first image by clicking it.  Then click on the "edit" icon in the lower right of the iPhoto window
  5. Make sure "Quick Fixes" is selected in the upper right, then select "crop" from the options on in right panel
  6. Select the drop-down menu next to "Constrain" and choose "Custom" at the bottom of the list.  Enter 4 in the left box and 5 in the right box. Hit "done"
  7. Click on "crop" again.  Now the crop window will appear and you can position and resize it however you want.
  8. Trick: once you have the crop window the way you want it (preferably tight around the bird) don't hit "Done", but instead hit the right arrow at the upper right which will transfer these same crop settings to your next photo.   Keep doing that and you can quickly work through a group of images.
  9. When you're done cropping all of the images, hit "done" and then hit "Last Import" in the upper left.  Now you should see all of the cropped versions of your photos.
  10. Select them all and copy them to a new folder that I usually call "Cropped photos" or something like that.
  11. Now you should be able to import the photos using our photo tool.

Some notes on that process: -- if you enter a URL, note that the format is important.  I recommend copying the URL directly from your browser just to be sure the format is correct -- if the photos are rejected because the size is too small, you might need to go back and crop them a bit bigger.  Note that this happens mostly with really highly cropped, grainy images less than about 40kb in size. -- Dave

Q:I submitted photos yesterday.  Why can’t I see them in BirdsEye yet?

New photos can take a up to two weeks before they appear in BirdsEye.  We do a review of all photos before they go live to prevent spam, duplicates and obvious mis-identifications.  When they are live they will appear on our photo review pages: http://www.birdsinthehand.com/photos

Currently BirdsEye refreshes photos infrequently to save bandwidth. This means that once you have downloaded photos for a species, new photos won’t appear on your phone for several weeks unless you delete and re-install.  However, we are making changes now that will load new photos as they become available.  I expect those changes will be released in the next month or two.  The same is true when we make changes to a photo, such as correcting the URL or copyright.


Q: How can I make corrections to photo identifications, plumages, copyrights or URLs?

 

You can review and make changes to identifications, plumage assignments, copyright and URL on the photo review pages.  For example: http://www.birdsinthehand.com/photos/review.html?taxonid=1505

 

If you find anything you feel should change you can make changes using the photo review pages.  If you do, please send me an email to let me know that it came from you.  We only allow photographers to change copyright and URL information for their own photos.

While you are there, please help us by taking a minute to rate some photos!  This helps us present the best and most useful photos first.

 

Thanks!

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