Posted by Dan Arndt
Note: This review is for Birdlog version 1.05. As apps mature and are upgraded to newer versions, some features may change for the better or worse, and new bugs may arise or be removed.
I’ve long been a fan of technology, and while I’ve only seriously been using eBird since January, there are so many times in the field that I had wished I’d been able to just post my exact location and what I saw there right to eBird, without having to stop, take notes, and try to remember where exactly this pond or that grove of trees was. I’ve got a bit of a talent for spotting locations using satellite or aerial photos, but remembering the exact time of day, all the assorted additional species around (and numbers), can be a bit of a task.
My wishes were granted when BirdLog was released for Android (along with iPhone, and iPad apps, if those are more your style) by Birds In The Hand LLC. Right from the App, you can find your location down to incredible precision using the GPS, which uses satellite photos from Google Maps.
From there, you can enter in the time you started your observations, and the list is sorted taxonomically, and split between the Likely birds in my area, to All reportable birds in my area, and lastly, by the birds actually seen in the report.
Every time I turn around, I am again amazed at what this thing can do. In the search bar, you can search for the bird species instead of scrolling through the list by name (Red-breasted Nuthatch), or banding code (RBNU), which saves a whole ton of time if you’re trying to record numbers in real time, while also lifting your binoculars or camera to try to get your eyes on the bird itself.
Lastly, before finalizing the list, submit the usual questions eBird uses to document the time, effort, and species data. How long it took, how the observation was made (Travelling, Stationary, or Incidental) along with distance covered, the number of observers in the party, and whether you’re listing all the birds you identified, or only a few species present. You can then choose to save it (in case you want to review it again before submitting to eBird) or just send it right there in the field, or from the pub, after you’ve stopped for your post-birding libations after recording your first ever sighting of your most recent life-bird observation.
Once you’ve submitted a checklist to eBird, if you decide you want to go back and view the list again, or make any changes to it, you’re greeted with this happy little screen, and a link to where you can edit the data on the eBird website.
And I was just getting into the habit of keeping a field notebook too…