Marked Birds Database – Public release

I’m delighted to announce the public release of the Marked Birds Database, a personal project that I have been working on since July 2013. I created it because I needed a central place in which to store all my observations of ringed gulls.


See an introduction in this short video:

Why I created it

In Europe, many projects exist for gulls and they all have their own system of ringing, respond time, and ways of providing life histories to observers. For some projects it is possible to submit and look up the information about a gull in an online system (although many projects have their own, separate system), while for others you receive the information in some kind of file such as a PDF or Word document.

This means that all the information about my observations is spread over many different Web sites and files. Also, the information that is stored by a ringer or project is (of course) made suitable for that ringer or project.

As an observer though, I would like to:

  • Keep track of all observations of all gulls in a central location, regardless of the project they belong to
  • Visually show how each ring is fitted to a gull
  • Keep track of all rings that a gull was ever fitted with and what happened to a ring (damaged, lost, replaced, etc)
  • Immediately see the age of a gull at the time it was ringed or observed
  • Add an unlimited number of images to each observation
  • Keep track of specific information such as primary moult, primary patterns, breeding data
  • Keep track of observations that I still need to submit and for which I am still waiting on an answer
  • Quickly see all observations made on a particular day
  • Quickly find information about an observer, ringer or ringing project
  • Store all types of life histories that I receive: in text format, as a PDF or other file, or as a Web link
  • Perform advanced searches across all my observations (again: regardless of the project the birds belong to)
  • Easily export observations to Excel for submitting to ringers
  • And much more…

For that reason, I created the Marked Birds Database.

Public release

Because I recognize that other ring readers or even ringers could also benefit from a system such as the one I have made, I have now made it available for free to the birding community.

Mind you: the database will work in the way that I have set it up for myself. You will receive an empty database to which you can add your own observations. When new versions of the database are made available, the data can be easily imported from the old version into the new version.

Note also that the database cannot be linked to any other system, although it is possible to export observations to Excel so that you can easily submit it to ringers or projects (although it might not be in their desired format).

Although it has been set up around ringing projects for gulls, it can also be used for other bird species as long as they have the same or similar projects. Personally I also use it to keep track of Oystercatchers of Dutch projects and Storks that I observe while abroad.

Types of projects that the database is currently not suitable for are those used for waders: multiple uncoded rings with or without flags. However, my intention is to add this some time in 2017.

Special thanks

A Special thanks goes out to Henri Zomer for being my beta-tester and for providing much valuable feedback and ideas!

Download and instructions

You can find the link to download the file as well as instructions about how to install and use it on the Database page.

2 thoughts on “Marked Birds Database – Public release

  1. Maarten,

    Brilliant! I look forward to using it. Thank you very much for all the time & effort you’ve put into this & releasing it for free.

    With kind regards,

    John Davies.

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