NZBirder

Version 1.0 (15/08/2013)

Support: steintil70@gmail.com

Please send me an email if you’ve got questions about functionality in the app.



How to use NZBirder

BIRDS

MAP

IDENTIFY

OBSERVATIONS

FAQ

How to use NZBirder

NZBirder can be used in 3 different ways:

- Firstly it can help you to learn about a wide variety of New Zealand's rich bird fauna.

- Secondly it helps you with the identification of NZ birds.

- Thirdly it serves as a handy tool to register the location, time and species of birds in your observations in the popular eBird format.

Whether you're a fledgling birder, a visitor to New Zealand or a seasoned birdwatcher and eBird user this app will be of great help with all your observations. While it won't replace your regular field guide it can be used to give you audio-visual clues and identification aids for the most commonly found or iconic as well as some rare birds from Bellbird over Kiwi, Moa, Stitchbird, Tui to Yellowhammer and helps you, whether new to birding or experienced by recording them at any location with field data.

It uses your device's GPS to register any number of the contained species in the popular eBird Extended Record format (ebird.org) and will be a real time saver for creating an observation list in eBird format. You can email your bird list in CSV format from the app ready for a later upload to the popular eBird portal (will need to create an eBird account first).

Though maintaining your bird lists at eBird makes them a lot more useful you can of course use NZBirder completely without eBird.

Sounds are included for most species as a training as well as identification aid. All birds are displayed with a number of important visual identification features. The workflow can be used in a complete offline capacity but if you have internet connectivity the app lets you look up even more detail.

BIRDS

Use the bird list to find images and general information and play sound files for each bird by selecting one bird.

 

When you have an internet connection look up more detail with a left swipe from that bird's detail view.

Swipe right to go back to previous screen. Filter the list by habitat by pressing the "Garden, Water, Bush" buttons in the navigation bar.

MAP

Use the map to find where you are or where your favourite birding spot is located. Long-press on the map (approx. 1s) to create a new observation spot. The location name will be shown if you have an internet connection when you create the spot (otherwise the name is shown as the spot coordinates and the time when you created the spot). Then edit details about duration and eBird Protocol and add a bird observation for that spot by clicking the 'Book' sign in the navigation bar. Go back to your observation spot at any time by clicking the "Left" button in the navigation bar (which will show the name of your spot. Using the "Letter" icon in the Navigation bar you can then create a eBird Record format CSV file and email to yourself for later upload.

                

Then edit details about duration and eBird Protocol and add a bird observation for that spot by clicking ‘Add Bird’, select a bird, and then clicking the 'Book' sign in the navigation bar.

Adjust the number of birds observed for that species with the slider until the correct number is shown in the green box (default is one). eBird will register the maximum number of birds of a species observed at a time, so if you first spot 2 blackbirds, then later 5, make sure you register all 5 and eBird will only get that maximum from your observations.

 Go back to your observation spot at any time by clicking the "Left/Back" button in the navigation bar (which will show the name of your spot. Using the "Letter" icon in the Navigation bar you can then create a eBird Record format CSV file and email to yourself for later upload.

        

IDENTIFY

Use "Identify" tab by clicking the "Magnifier glass" icon in the navigation bar and specifying the three attributes "Colour", "Size" and "Bill length/shape" in order to filter the bird result list. The view will update when you click "Find".

Not all combinations will return a result set (so it is important to know that all 3 attributes are searched for - make sure you adjust all 3 picker wheels - try out “brown”,”sparrow”, “short” for example).

OBSERVATIONS

The observations tab lets you review your birdings spots.  Review your older observation lists by clicking their spot on the map or selecting from the obseravionts tab. A summary is shown on the "Observations" tab:

 

THE CSV FILE created by NZBIRDER CONTAINS A FORMATTED LIST OF YOUR OBSERVATIONS. CREATE AN ACCOUNT AT EBIRD.ORG TO UPLOAD IT.

If you want to know the format used by eBird go to http://help.ebird.org/customer/portal/articles/973915

This is an example output file in the eBird Record Format from NZBirder:

Black Swan,  ,  ,1,  ,"Rotorua Central at 11 Aug, 2013 21:20",-38.138,176.251,08/11/2013,21:20:46,  ,  ,Casual,,13,Y,  ,  ," weather, # of observers in party:2"

Myna,  ,  ,1,  ,"Rotorua Central at 11 Aug, 2013 21:20",-38.138,176.251,08/11/2013,21:20:46,  ,  ,Casual,,15,Y,  ,  ," weather, # of observers in party:2"

Paradise Shelduck,  ,  ,5,  ,"Rotorua Central at 11 Aug, 2013 21:20",-38.138,176.251,08/11/2013,21:20:46,  ,  ,Casual,,15,Y,  ,  ," weather, # of observers in party:2"

Tui,  ,  ,3,  ,"Rotorua Central at 11 Aug, 2013 21:20",-38.138,176.251,08/11/2013,21:20:46,  ,  ,Casual,,15,Y,  ,  ," weather, # of observers in party:2"

This is the eBird Record column definition:

NZBirder will automatically record the following attributes in the output file: A,F,G,H,I,J,M,O,P

eBird Protocols:

                                                   

(copied from eBird web site for reference)                        

                                

                                        

Appendix B—Protocol Descriptions

                                        

Traveling Count--Observations made over a known period of time while traveling a known distance are classified as a Traveling Count. You should be able to estimate the distance that you traveled during your outing, which can be walking, driving, or even by boat. If you do have a reliable estimate of the area you covered while you recorded the species, consider entering your observations as an Exhaustive Area Count. If you aren't sure of the distance or area you covered, please enter your observation as a Casual Observation. Examples of Traveling Counts are: walking a trail at a local park, driving an auto loop at a National Wildlife Refuge, participating on a pelagic (boat) trip, or even birding while jogging through your neighborhood. Required Date/Effort fields: Date, Start Time, Duration, and Distance Covered.

                                        

Stationary Count--Observations made over a known period of time, but without any distance/area components, are classified as a Stationary Count. This does not mean you must stand completely still as you record the birds, but you should remain in an area approximately 30 meters (30 yards) in diameter while you are recording birds. If you move much farther than that, you should consider entering your observations as a Traveling Count or an Exhaustive Area Count. Examples of Stationary Counts are: a hawk watch, lake watch, or sea watch, or even sitting in your backyard for a period of time identifying birds. Required Date/Effort fields: Date, Start Time, and Duration.

                                        

Area Count--Area Counts are made while thoroughly searching a given location or area. These types of counts are sometimes used by biologists when monitoring a specific site, however, they can be appropriate for casual birding if you are able to estimate the size (acres or hectares) of the area you searched. The key measure of effort is the size of your area. Secondary measures of effort are time (duration) and distance traveled. If you are unsure of the size of your search area, but have a reliable estimate of the distance you traveled, consider submitting your observations as Travel Counts. If you are unsure of the area you covered, but have a reliable estimate of distance, consider entering your observations as a Traveling Count. Examples of Area Counts include: actively searching a local park or woodlot for breeding birds or canoeing back and forth through a marsh to count wading birds. A birding trek around your neighborhood or privately owned property can be an Area Count if you are able to estimate the size of the area you searched. Required Date/Effort fields: Date, Start Time, Duration, and Area Covered.

                                        

eBird Random Count--Observations made at a randomly selected location over period of at least five minutes. This protocol relates to how the location was selected. For other eBird protocols, the birder selects the location, but the eBird Random Count is different in that the birder randomly selects the location, thus eliminating the bias inherent when birders select areas that they deem to be ‘good for birds’. To find a random location travel 3 or 5 miles from the last location you selected in any direction. Choose 3 or 5 miles depending on how much ground you intend to cover for the day, and try to avoid double-counting birds from a previous birding location (i.e., travel farther in open habitats than in forested ones). Stop at the first available, safe, location and conduct your count for at least five minutes, keeping track of duration and distance. Required Date/Effort fields: Date, Start Time, Duration, and Distance Covered. Distance can be zero (i.e., a ‘stationary count’).

                                        

Casual Observation--Observations that involve no time or distance/area components are classified as Incidental Sightings. Examples of an Incidental Sighting are: an oriole that flies by while you are checking your mail, a hummingbird feeding in your backyard while you wash dishes, a grouse just off the side of the road while you drive to work, or a flock of waxwings that move through your yard while you are weeding your garden. Required Date/Effort fields: Date.

                                

                        

                

FAQ

- Do I need to be connected to the internet when bird watching?

No. The app can be used completely without the internet except for when you email the resultant file (list). A map can be downloaded while you have a connection by navigating around the area you are planning to visit. Make sure you zoom in while you’re there. The map will automatically be cached for later use where you’ve looked at it. If you know where you are going to go you can create a spot (location) before going out to the field. If you do that now the app will be able to reverse geocode the location and attempt to find the location name automatically. Otherwise the location will be saved using the coordinates and time of creation for a name.

- Where should I upload my  observations?

After you have created an account at eBird go to http://ebird.org/ebird/submit , select “Import Data” and tick: eBird Record Format (Extended). Use “Choose File” to browse to the CSV file that you’ve emailed to yourself.

- Why would I use eBird? I have a different method to record my observations?

eBird not only allows you to maintain your lifelist, it also lets you conduct sophisticated analysis on your own observations and lists. Moreover lists shared by others can be a source of information for you. What’s best is that scientists can make great use of all your observations. Every observation counts!

- I don’t use eBird. Can I use NZBirder?

Yes, absolutely! You can just record your observations and use your exported CSV file to add your observations to your own list by using Excel or any text editor you like. See this document or the eBird website for documentation of the eBird Record format. See further down in this document for an example of what the output of NZBirder looks like.

- What happens to my observations if I close the app?

Everything is stored safely in a database on your phone. When you make changes to the details for an observation spot those will be changed as soon as you change to another view. So if you change the protocal or notes make sure you go to another view after doing so to save your entries.

- I can’t remember my observations at a certain spot. I am also not sure if I’ve exported them.

No worries. Just go to that spot on the map (tap on the needle) and you will see the observation details. Go to “Add Bird” and add another bird to get a list of birds you’ve already recorded. Go back to the observation details view and click on the “Letter” button to create the CSV file again. This can be done at any later time. Just remember that the location you tap on on the map will be the location to which the next bird record will be added.

- I watch birds in my backyard mostly (my local park, the parking lot, my kitchen/office window) so all I do is create more observations at the same location. My map display becomes cluttered with observations. What can I do?

There’s two things you can do: make sure you export your observations first. (Do so by selecting the observation from either the map display on the ‘Map’ tab or selecting it in the ‘Observation’ tab. Once selected click on the ‘Letter’ button to trigger the creation of a CSV (comma separated value) file which is appended to an email. Make sure you’ve got a connection to the internet and send that email to yourself. Repeat that for every observation.) Once you have secured all your observations by exporting them you can delete observations like this: Go to the ‘Observations’ tab, right swipe on the line for the observation you want to delete. It may be easier to identify which one’s the right one by rotating your device to horizontal which makes long names easier to read. Right swiping triggers a red ‘Delete’ button for that line. Press the button to delete.

- Can I add my own birds if a bird I watch isn’t in the NZBirder database?

This functionality is on the wishlist - but unfortunately not currently available. Possibly a future release will incorporate that feature.

- What is the meaning of the “protocol” field?

eBird uses different protocols to describe the way you’ve been doing bird watching. If you had been stationary at a location then that would be “stationary”. “Travelling” is another option and so is “casual”. Have a look at the valid entries for “protocol” and a comprehensive description of protocols on the eBird web site (copied at the back of this document for reference). Keep in mind that different protocols may require fields that aren’t filled in through NZBirder. With “Casual” and “Stationary” counts, NZBirder does fill in all required fields if you specify the duration of your count. Travelling count, however, and other protocols, may require you to specify the area or distance covered before eBird lets you do an upload.