Birding Software

Subject: Birding Software
Date: Thu, 19 Oct 2000 19:47:54 -0400
G'day all

Ralph Reid asked for our experiences with software for keeping bird
records.  I use a commercial, all purpose relational database package -
Lotus Approach (for OS/2 in my case).  Without any coding at all I have
set it up to keep all sightings and can search for a particular species,
location, date etc.  I can look at my life list, Australian list and can
pull out records by year (all records or just unique species).  The main
database is linked by species name to Sibley's world list so that the
species are arranged in the order of that classification system.  A copy
of the Sibley list can be downloaded from my website.

Basically I am too lousy to buy one of the specialist birding software
packages and any that require Win 95, 98 etc will probably not run under
OS/2.  No doubt many of these are excellent and others will discuss their
good and bad points.  One of the main benefits of a system like mine is
the ease in transferring the data to new, improved databases that appear. 
My records started out on a dBASE II system with a single floppy disk and
have been migrated several times over the years.

I have 15.5 years of records and can quickly look at arrival dates for
cuckoos etc. and can quickly generate lists for particular locations.  If
I wanted I could add fields for detailed notes, GPS points etc. but
haven't found the time for this yet.  I'm still learning the package and
will add more functionality eventually.

Backing up the data is always vital (and usually neglected).  My practice
is to occasionally email the database to my work PC.  I once had to
re-enter two years of records and don't ever wish to repeat this.

Most PC's come with MS Office or Lotus Smartsuite so many people will
already own the software necessary for a bird record database.

I hope this is of value.


Steve Clark



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