I’m happy to announce the release of the Marked Birds Database version 1.10.0. It contains two main new features, various efficiency improvements and some fixes.
A link to the download file as well as instructions about installing, setting up and using the database can be found on the Marked Birds Database page.
Users who are using an older version can import their data into the new version.
Note that because of the start of the breeding season, development of the database will be halted until the end of July. Until that time, no major releases will be done. When time permits, minor releases containing small fixes or improvements will be made available as much as possible (no promises though). I wish everyone a successful breeding season and an enjoyable summer!
Checking if a bird already exists when adding a new bird
When adding a new bird to the Marked Bird database you need to be sure that this bird does not already exist. From version 10.0 onwards, the database automatically checks this for you.
Using a variety of different searches based on a combination of code, ring color, inscription color and/or Current Marker Code, a check is done to see if a matching bird exists.
Note that no search is done based on bird species. This is to make sure that when a bird already exists under the name of a sub-species, it is still found. (For example: when adding a Lesser Black-backed Gull which exists in the system as a Nordic Black-backed Gull, it is still found).
The challenge here is to not make these searches so strict that any possible matches are incorrectly excluded, but to also not make them so loose that too many irrelevant results are shown.
The results that you will see completely depend on what is available in your database. Obviously this will be different for each user. If you find that not the correct results are shown (too many or not enough), please contact me.
Using the validation
The validation works automatically when clicking the Add button in any of the Add Bird layouts. Alternatively, you can click the Pre-Validate button in any of these layouts to perform the check before initiating the process of adding the bird.
Figure: A Pre-Validate button has been added to each Add Bird layout.
- When clicking the Add Bird button and no match is found, the bird is added as usual.
- When clicking the Pre-Validate button and no match is found, a message appears informing you about this.
- When one or more matches are found, these are shown on a new layout.
From here, you can do the following:
- Return to the Adding Bird layout. This allows you to make any changes. The current bird is not added.
- Continue Adding the bird. If for some reason none of the results match the bird that you are adding, you can continue adding it.
- Add the observation to the existing bird. When you are including an observation and a match is found, you can add the observation to that bird without adding the bird itself.
See a short demonstration of this feature in this video:
Oystercatchers: support for the Dutch CHIRP project
A new Oystercatcher project has recently started here in the Netherlands which uses a variation of an existing ring combination where uncoded rings are now fitted to the tarsus instead of the tibia.
A dedicated form for adding Oystercatchers for this project has now been added.
Oystercatchers: hiding all forms
All Oystercatcher projects in the Marked Birds Database are related to Dutch projects. If you never use any of these projects, you can hide these forms from the main Add Bird screen.
Do this by accessing Manage MBDB > Preferences > Forms and selecting ‘Dutch Oystercatchers’ in the section ‘Control which forms to hide from the Add Bird layout.
The main screen will then look like this:
Search Extra – Birds: improved result information
When using the Search Extra Birds option and clicking Show Results in List, the layout that appears now contains much more information. This should help to better distinguish each individual bird. The following is shown:
- The standard image for that bird. Click it to see a larger view.
- Details for the last observation.
- The total number of observations is shown in the Preview Observations button.
Working with observations
Various improvements have been made for working with observations.
Setting the ‘Last observation of the (breeding/winter) season’ for each observation
In addition to the option ‘First observation of the (breeding/winter) season’, you can now also set the ‘Last observation of the (breeding/winter) season’. Both options allow you to track the period during which you have seen a bird, and compare that with previous years. The option is available on the Notes tab of the Observation Details.
As with the ‘First observation’ option, the ‘Last observation’ option is also displayed in the list of observations on the Bird Overview layout:
Quickly edit various observation details without having to open an individual observation
The options ‘First observation of the (breeding/winter) season’ and ‘Last observation of the (breeding/winter) season’, as well as the Notes field can now be accessed from the Bird Overview layout without having to access the Observation Details layout. (More options may be added later when necessary.)
This can be done by clicking the cogwheel icon () for each observation. All available options can then be modified from the popup window that appears.
When adding a new bird, the Current Marker Code is automatically generated. It is used for quickly and easily finding a bird, so any special characters such as dots, hyphens and so on are by default automatically stripped from the code. If for some reason you want to include a special character, you can set this manually.
Working with Current Marker Codes
When adding a new bird, the Current Marker Code is automatically generated. It is used for quickly and easily finding a bird, so any special characters such as dots, hyphens and so on are by default automatically stripped from the code.
If for some reason you want to include a special character, you can now set this manually by clicking the Set Special Characters button. In the window that appears, add any special characters that you want to include in the code, or remove those that you don’t want to include.
Changes to the BirdRing import
A few changes have been made here:
- Column name change. The column named ‘ringCodeLong’ has been renamed to ‘btoCode’ to match the same change in the upcoming version of the BirdRing app. If you don’t have this version installed, simply change the column name in the CSV file back to ‘ringCodeLong’ (by opening it in Excel) to make the import work.
- BirdRing coordinates are now default. The coordinates used by BirdRing are now imported by default and not automatically overwritten by those of the location stored in the Marked Birds Database. If you don’t want to use the BirdRing coordinates, clear the check box for each observation before importing (to quickly clear all check boxes for all observations, used the Options button and click Clear All for the option ‘Use BirRing coordinates’).
Release Notes – Marked Birds Database – Version 1.10.0
- MBDB-636 Add last observation date to Search Extra Bird results layout
- MBDB-806 Observation: add option ‘Last of season’
- MBDB-809 Make a preference to determine which characters to exclude from the Current Marker Code
- MBDB-817 Add validation to process of adding a bird
- MBDB-822 Add preference to control which forms are shown for adding birds
- MBDB-823 Add support for Dutch CHIRP Oystercatcher project
- MBDB-833 Add image of bird to Search Extra Bird results layout
- MBDB-836 BirdRing import: observation type is now set to ‘Personal observation’
- MBDB-839 Observations: add batch option for hiding Submitted and Received fields
- MBDB-840 Add number of observations to Search Extra Bird results layout
- MBDB-843 Database loads Welcome screen even if records exist
- MBDB-850 Make it possible to quickly edit some observation details from Bird Overview
- MBDB-855 Search Extra Marker Events: add reading direction to export