This article is part of the Marked Birds Database manual and describes how to work with the Observation Details screen.
The Observation Details screen is used for adding, viewing and editing an observation for a bird. It contains various tabs, each holding specific information.
Add a new observation by clicking Add Observation in the Bird Overview screen or in the Observation Details screen.
Tip: to have today’s date automatically filled, set Manage MBDB > Preferences > Features > Auto-set observation date to today.
You can also display a button that when clicked automatically sets today’s date. Do this via Manage MBDB > Preferences > Features > Show ‘Today’ button.
To quickly add location details, use the Copy and Paste buttons. Click the info icon to see which locations details are stored in memory for pasting.
The age of the bird is automatically set for an observation when:
- The observation is created
- The date is changed for an observation
For this to work, the Current Age and / or the Ringing Age needs to be present.
To re-calculate the observation age, click Auto Age.
To quickly update the observation age for multiple observations, do one of the following:
- Click the Auto Age button in the Observation Details tab.
- Search for all observations that you want to update and click Batch Actions > Observeration Age > Update. The observation age for all found observations will then be automatically updated. (Note: the Batch Actions button only appears when more than 1 observation is shown.)
Open an observation to edit or view it by doing one of the following:
- Click the info icon in front of an observation, for example in the Bird Overview screen or in the search results of the Search Extra > Observations screen.
- From the main menu, choose All Observations (Details).
When moving through the different records while in the Observation Details screen, you will each time see a different observation.
When the Observation Details screen is accessed by clicking the info icon in front of an observation in the Bird Overview screen or by choosing All Observations (Details) from the main menu, only the observations that exist for that bird are shown, starting with the oldest. Navigating the different observations will therefore only show the observations of that bird. To navigate through all observations in the database, click Show All.
Observations are of one of the following types:
- Personal observation (default). The observation was done by you.
- Observation done by 3rd-party. The observation was done by someone else.
- Not observed. The bird was not observed.
- Camera trap. The bird was photographed by a camera.
- Capture – ringing. The bird was caught and ringed.
- Capture – control. The bird was caught but was already ringed.
To quickly update the observation type for multiple observations, search for all observations that you want to update and use the option in Batch Actions in the Observation Details tab. (Note: the Batch Actions button only appears when more than 1 observation is shown.)
Locations that are often used can be stored in the system via Manage MBDB > Locations or by clicking the green +-sign next to the location name.
Each of these locations appears in the Name list. When choosing a location from the list all the other relevant fields for that location (country, province/state, province/state code, and coordinates) are automatically filled (as long as they have been saved in the system for that location).
For each observation at least 1 observer needs to be added. Only observers that exist in the database can be added. Observers can be added to the database via Manage MBDB > Observers/Ringers.
Observers appear in the list of observers when the check box Observer is selected. This way you can control the number of names that appear in the list, for example by clearing that option for those people that you will only refer to as a ringer.
Tip: Create a dummy observer or an ‘Unknown’ observer for those observers that you don’t want to add by name. If needed, you can then add their name in the Notes field for an observation.
To quickly update the list of observers for multiple observations, add all observers to one observation, save the changes and do one of the following:
- Use the Copy List of Observers and Paste List of Observers buttons to manually update each observation. Click the info icon to see which observers are stored in memory for pasting.
- Search for all observations that you want to update and click Batch Actions > Observers > Update. The list of observers for all found observations will then be automatically updated. (Note: the Batch Actions button only appears when more than 1 observation is shown.)
All observations of that day
To see an overview of all observations made on the same day, click the View all observations for (date) button.
The Reporting options of an observation allow you to keep track of the observations that you still need to send out and the observations for which you are still waiting on the life histories. Do this by setting Yes or No and the date for the following options:
- Observation Submitted
- Life History Received
To automatically set these options for multiple observations, use Batch Actions > Reporting.
To quickly access the contact details of the ringer of the bird, click Ringer Contact Details. For the information to appear, the name of the ringer needs to have been added in the Marker Events screen and the same name needs to exist in Manage MBDB > Observers/Ringers.
When a single observation needs to be send out to a ringer, click the Envelope icon. This will automatically generate all the text needed to send out the observation by e-mail (in English only).
To quickly update the reporting options for multiple observations, search for all observations that you want to update and use the options in Batch Actions > Reporting in the Observation Details tab. (Note: the Batch Actions button only appears when more than 1 observation is shown.)
If the bird is ringed by yourself and the reporting options are therefore not used for that bird, the options can be hidden by clicking the cog wheel next to the Reporting label or via Main Menu > Bird Settings > Observations > Hide Reporting Options.
To search for observations that you still need to send in, use Find or Search Extra and select No for the option Reporting > Observation Submitted. You will then find all observations which have set that option to No. To narrow down the results, combine it with a date, location, ringer, species, and so on.
To search for life histories that you still need to receive, use Find or Search Extra and select No for the option Reporting > Life History Received. You will then find all observations which have set that option to No. To narrow down the results, combine it with a date, location, ringer, species, and so on.
An unlimited number of images can be added to each observation. Images can be added manually one by one, or automatically by selecting a folder.
To see an image in a larger size, click the image. To see it in full screen view, click the image once more. Use the navigation buttons to move between the images.
To see all images that are available for the same date, click the View x images for (date) button.
To remove a single image, view the image in a large size and click the red cross.
To remove all images of an observation, click the Trash Can icon above the list of images.
To download a single image, view the image in a large size and click the green arrow.
To make an image the standard image of a bird (see Working with birds), view the image in a large size and click the yellow star.
To hide or show the captions, view the image in a large size and click the comment icon.
Current Marker Code
The Current Marker Code field represents the Markers that the bird was fitted with at the time when the bird was observed. It is therefore also part of the data for an observation.
It is automatically generated when the bird is added and automatically added to an observation when an observation is created. If at some point the Current Marker Code is edited (at the top of the screen), it also needs to be edited in the Observation Details screen. This can be done in the following ways:
- Manually by updating the field in the Observation Details tab
- Automatically by searching for all observations that you want to update and clicking Batch Actions > Current Marker Code > Update in the Observation Details tab. (Note: the Batch Actions button only appears when more than 1 observation is shown.)
I have created the Marked Birds Database for myself and have made it available as such to the ring reading community. Most of the features that the database contains will be of use to you, but some of them won’t. At the same time, you might want to track data that I don’t track.
I have therefore made it possible to track up to 5 custom fields for an observation, and 5 for a bird.
These fields can be found in Observation Details > Custom Data, and in Bird Settings > Custom Data.
By default, the tab in which the fields are shown is named ‘Custom data’ and the label of a field is named ‘Field 1’, ‘Field 2’, and so on.
This is what it looks like in Observation Details:
Use the Settings button to set the following:
- The name of the tab
- The label of each field
- If the field should be a text field or date field (available in Bird Settings only)
- If the field should be hidden
For example, in Observation Details you might want keep track of bird measurements that were taken during a ringing session. You could therefore name the tab ‘Measurements’ and name label 1 ‘Wing length’ and another one ‘Tarsus length’ while hiding the other fields:
- All fields will be available for ALL birds.
In other words: if you used the example above, you will be tracking measurements for all observations.
- You can search on the fields by using Search Extra > Birds or Search Extra > Observations.
- The fields have also been added to the Excel export of those Search Extra forms.
- Tip: to create spacing between fields, hide the field in between.
- All settings and entered data will be imported when upgrading to a future version.
- The custom data fields in Bird Settings are likely going to be moved to a more suitable location. This will have to wait until after the summer break though.
Adding a link to an observation
Adding observations made by another observer are often based on references found on the Internet (such as observation.org or waarneming.nl).
In Observation Details it is possible to add a Web link to the page on which the reference was found. A viewer also shows the Web page (when an Internet connection is available).
Hidden feature: when setting the observer to ‘waarneming.nl’ (create an observer with first name ‘waarneming’ and last name ‘.nl’), the name shown in Bird Overview can be clicked and opens the link directly in a viewer.