Birdwatcher's Diary User Manual

Interfacing with eBird

The Cornell School of Ornithology eBird project is a very popular "citizen science" project, and no doubt many users of Birdwatcher's Diary will want to upload recorded sightings to eBird. To do so, select Upload to eBird from the Options Menu, and you'll see a screen filled with details that you need to attend to.

Date: As with archiving, you upload sightings to eBird one day at a time (not one location at a time). Typically the date will be filled in with the date of your currently active sightings; if not, tap on the date and change it appropriately.

Filename: The filename for the upload is automatically generated, though you can change it if you wish to do so. There's not really any need.

Output Method: Three or four (depending on whether you have Dropbox activated) are provided – Email, SD Card, Dropbox, and Direct to eBird. Direct to eBird is the simplest, but requires that you have an Internet connection, and also may not work at all times. The other three all provide a way for you to send a file to your computer, either directly or indirectly, from where you can upload it to eBird by logging into eBird from a browser, using these steps:

  1. Log in to your account at eBird (these accounts are free, if you don't already have one, and establishing one is quite straightforward and not described here).
  2. Click on "Import Data" at the bottom of the screen.
  3. Click on "eBird Record Format (Extended)" in the "Format" section.
  4. Click "Browse" and locate the file of sightings on your computer.
  5. Click "Import File".
  6. If all is well, you should see two messages: "Your file "XXX.txt" has been successfully processed", and "Species, location, and checklist matching is complete". Assuming you do, you should see a further message reading "N checklists are ready to be submitted," where N represents the number of different locations which were part of the submission. Click "Submit these checklists" to add your sightings to eBird. That's it. If you did not get the proper messages at this step, your best bet is to open the file on your computer with a simple text editing program (e.g., TextEdit on the Mac or NotePad on Windows) and see if you can figure out what is wrong.

Include: Here you specify either to upload All Locations at once (if you birded more than one location in the day), or just a particular location. In general you'll want to do All Locations since it only involves a single file. The exception will be if any of the items which follow on the screen differ from location to location; in that case, uploading one location at a time is appropriate. If you select a single location, the location is initially set to the location showing on your main screen. To change it, after you tap on that button, tap on it a second time. You'll then see a list of all the "active locations," that is, not your complete list of locations but just the locations relevant to this day of birding. Select another one by tapping on it.

Protocol: Traveling is the usual eBird protocol, in which you walk or run or ride or drive along or around a particular location, recording species as you go. In Traveling mode, if you have Calculate checked, the software will automatically calculate the distance you travelled and the duration of the birding by examining each of the sightings. In general, this should be sufficiently accurate, but if the numbers look "off," feel free to uncheck Calculate and put in your own estimates (or numbers measured by some other means). Stationary and Area are two specific protocols described in eBird documentation. Finally, Incidental is what you use if you want to record a sighting of an individual bird or birds that occured when you weren't "really" birding, or at least weren't recording your sightings, but a rare individual popped up that you want to report.

# Observers is self-explanatory.

All Sightings Recorded is also self-explanatory, but subtle. Subtle because if you bird at multiple locations, it is fairly common only to record sightings of species that you haven't seen before during the day. What this means is that at the first location, you did record all the sightings, but at the second and subsequent locations where you were only recording new species, you did not record all the sightings. This is a case where you might need to upload sightings to eBird one location at a time, with All Sightings Recorded checked for the first location and unchecked for the rest.

Finally, you can choose between Report Counts and Report Only as "Present". eBird prefers that you count, or at least estimate counts for all species, but that's up to you. Birdwatcher's Diary actually allows you to "mix modes", that is, you can set Default to "Present" in the Settings to on, so by default any species you tick will just be "ticked," i.e., uncounted. But then if there are species that you want to count (perhaps species that you think are "more important"), those you can tick repeatedly (or use the calculator) to enter precise counts. In this case, the data will be reported to eBird exactly as you recorded it, with some species reported simply as "present" and others reported by count.

When you are finished entering or checking all the various settings (most of them won't need changing), you tap on Preview on the upper-right. This will display a preview of precisely what you are about to report to eBird (the "X" you see is the way eBird represents "present"). You should read the preview carefully, rather than just dismissing it. Although software is a very efficient way to record sightings, mistakes are always possible, like ticking a species next to the one you meant to tick and not noticing it. If you're in California, you don't want to be reporting a Bobolink when you meant to tick Western Bluebird! So check over the preview screen carefully, and, assuming you're satisfied with it, tap the Submit button (or, obviously, tap Cancel if you spot an error). Note that if you are having the software calculate distance and time, the preview is the only way for you to see the distances and durations that are being submitted for each location (since the display on the main eBird screen shows only the first location). Also note that if you are not having the software calculate distance and duration, this is another situation in which you must upload data one location at a time, since you can only hand-enter distance and duration for one location at a time.

When using the Direct to eBird method for submission, after first saving the file to be submitted, the software will transfer you to a web browser (we strongly recommend installing the Firefox browser on your device for this purpose; others may or may not work in the steps that follow). The first time this happens, you'll be at the login page, and need to enter your eBird username and password (of course you need to visit eBird and establish an eBird account before any of this). On subsequent uploads, you should stay logged in, so that step shouldn't be necessary again. If you have to login, follow the numbered steps above (the same ones you would use from a desktop browser) to get to the eBird import screen. When you tap the Browse (File) button on that screen, you will see a Choose File dialog which gives you a choice of applications from which to choose the file. Choose Birdwatcher's Diary (obviously). Now you'll see a list of the files you have prepared for submission to eBird. Choose the latest one (or an earlier one if you were offline and weren't able to upload it then). When you return to the browser, make sure "eBird Record Format (Extended)" (the third of three choices) is selected, and tap on Import File. When the upload completes, tap on the Submit these checklists button to finish the process. Return to Birdwatcher's Diary when you are finished.

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