New Database

Subject: New Database
From: Katrina Knight <>
Date: Wed, 25 Nov 2009 12:35:55 -0500
At 08:12 PM 11/24/2009 Roaminoz Crew wrote:
I'm wondering if anyone has heard of and/or used the database as put out by Bluebird Technology.

I've played with the trial version. I like it for the most part. The trial version doesn't allow many entries, so I tested by entering data for a couple days at home and a couple days from my trip to Australia earlier this year. A lot of birding databases fall down to varying degrees when asked to deal with foreign trips. This one seems to handle that relatively well as long as you set the default authority to "the World (Clements)". If you set the default to something else, some of the summaries only end up including the species on that particular list. Even if you set the default to the world list though, you can still use whichever authority you like for your actual entries. In my testing, I used Christidis & Boles. for the Australian entries and the ABA for the US ones. The database is smart enough to deal with species whose names are different in different places. It knows that a "European Starling" in the US is the same species as a "Common Starling" in Australia.

Some of the things I like about this database include hierarchical locations, ease of entry, the ability to attach pictures to the entries and the ability to export data as a csv file. It also has the ability to export to eBird, which is an online database commonly used in North America, but not to other the various other online databases.

There were two things that looked like I'd like them but that I had problems with during my testing. The database supposedly has the ability to add additional data fields both to the entries and to the individual species data within the entries. I got that to work for the entries as a whole without a problem. I could add the additional fields for the individual sightings within the entry, but I couldn't make those or the other optional fields show on the screen in my test database. The optional fields did show when I looked at the same database that came with the trial version, so I may have missed something there. My other issue was with the supposed ability to include subspecies data. Choosing subspecies works well when using Clements as the authority but doesn't seem to work using the ABA list and isn't even available as an option with the C&B list. I prefer to keep subspecies data where possible, but using the Clements list for entries is cumbersome.

I don't like the inability to adjust the species within the selected authority and if I'm going to pay for a database program, I'd really like it to be able to record my non-bird sightings as well. I also don't like not being able to choose species by their Latin names. That's not something I'd want to do a lot of, but sometimes it is hard to remember what the "correct" common name for a bird is in a given place. I also don't see any way to import data from any other database. It does look like allowing the entry of other wildlife and importing are two of the things they intend to add soon, so some of these concerns may be dealt with in the next version.

Katrina Knight

Reading, PA, USA


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