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The New BirdsEye NA vs the Original BirdsEye: What's the deal?

BirdLog Abundance ChartLike a lot of people, I love the original BirdsEye and use it daily.  I think the user interface is slick and easy to use and it provides a lot of cool features I can't get anywhere else.

However, all software eventually gets to a point where it becomes more difficult to fix than to simply rebuild.  I won't inflict the brain-damage of outlining the technical issues, but suffice it to say that BirdsEye has reached that point.  Also, the way it was built made building an Android version of BirdsEye difficult.

The New BirdsEye

To address these problems we have embarked on a ground-up rebuild of BirdsEye and are adding some cool new features in the process.   In this first version the new BirdsEye already provides some useful new features not in the original, including:

  • 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
  • you can 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.

The latest version of the New BirdsEye NA and regional versions are now roughly on par with the Original BirdsEye, although there are pros and cons.  The latest update of BirdsEye NA in the App Store includes the ability to browse Hotspots and see recent "Notable" sightings near you.  

We have not made a final decision on how to roll it out to existing BirdsEye users.  The issues here are somewhat complex.  First, it isn't ready yet.  Second, it will never be identical, and some people love the original just like it is, so we think many people will not want to change.  Third, the model of selling apps is probably not sustainable for us in this niche market of high-end birding apps.  We cannot afford to improve and support our app as much as we need to, despite relying mostly on low-paid and/or volunteer labor.  At some point I believe that we need to transition to a subscription approach and the rollout of the new BirdsEye may be the right time to do that.  

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.

How can you help?

BirdLog Birds Nearby ScreenshotAs you've probably heard, our mission is to support bird conservation by supporting the eBird project.  For more on this topic check out my blog post.

As passionate birders ourselves, we are trying to do work that will be valuable not only to eBird, but also to birders and to the birding community.  Our goal is to move things forward, not just copy what other people are doing.  Here are some specific ways you can help us accomplish these goals: 

1) Purchasing BirdsEye NA will help make our development go faster. Development takes a lot of volunteer time and also costs money, and by purchasing the app you are making a meaningful contribution towards moving development forward faster.

Our goal is to use the $10 and $20 votes of confidence that you make when you purchase an app from us to make our apps better.

The early releases of the New BirdsEye NA still have a few rough edges that will be fixed in future upgrades. However, if loading your life or year list from eBird, having bar charts in the field and finding your nearby needs sounds like a feature you would find useful, then I would encourage you to check it out!

kingfisher-screen2) Provide us with your feedback.   Your bug reports really help!  The best way to report bugs is via our support email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or via the contact us page on our website.  Specific feedback about bugs or changes you would like to see is great.  The more the better!

One thing that is especially helpful is identifying photos that are poor quality or misidentified.  Currently most of the photos were given only a very brief (or in a few cases no) review.  We are still finding photos that are misidentified.  If you see one, please let us know!

3) Give a positive review the app in the App Store or tell your friends.  Some people think that a negative review is a good way to report bugs and thereby improve the app.  Not true!  Bad reviews mean fewer sales, which in turn means that we cannot afford to move forward with fixing bugs as fast.  Plus, Apple hides some reviews, so there is a reasonable chance we won't even know what you've written!

What really helps is moderate to glowing reviews (4 or 5 stars) combined with very blunt and honest written descriptions.  Your written descriptions are helpful to users who are trying to decide whether to purchase the app.  It's much better for someone not to buy the app than to buy it, hate it and write a bad review!

Thank you!

 

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