Marked Birds Database – Version 2.0.0 available

I’m happy to announce the release of the Marked Birds Database version 2.0.0 It contains various new features, improvements, changes and fixed issues.

For a full list, see the bottom of this article.

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 a previous version can import their data into the new version.

Main change

The main change is that the database has been upgraded from FileMaker 13 to FileMaker 16. This was mainly done to make it possible to run it on the newer versions of MacOS but at the same time allows me to make use of some of the new possibilities that are available in that version and thereby make the database more user friendly, efficient and powerful.

What is new?

To see an overview of what is new in this version, choose Manage MBDB > What is New?


One of the biggest new features is the introduction of ‘cards’. It is basically a way of placing a layout over another layout. This was already possible but what is different is that the layout on top is fixed in place and that the layout below it cannot be accessed until the layout on top of it is closed.

I realised that I can use this in two ways:

1. Display information to briefly view or work with, without losing the place in the database where I’m working at that time. Some of these cards can be found by clicking the new ‘Quick View’ option in the Bird Overview or Observation Details layout, to quickly display the life history, marker events, primary moult, or to view all observations.

In the same way, all options of the Manage MBDB menu have also been turned into such cards.

Above: Displaying the life history while working in Bird Overview.

Above: Displaying all other observations of a bird while working on one of the bird’s observations in Observation Details.

Above: Managing locations while working in Observation Details.

As a result of using cards, the option to set the size of the messages has been removed from the steps of setting up the database. Yay!

2. As a replacement for messages. Instead of using the default messages (of which the size needs to be manually enlarged if it contains a lot of text), cards allow me to not only include any kind of information that I want to show, but to also display it any way I want and include any kind of object, including images. I can also control the size of the card so that all the information is always visible. All messages that contain more information than a default size message can contain have been replaced by cards.

Above: The old message for deleting an image.

Above: The new message for deleting an image.

Working with birds

The following is new or has changed when it comes to working with birds in the Birds Overview screen.


All images for a bird can now be seen in a grid view. Do this by accessing Main Menu > Images or by clicking All Images at the bottom or the Bird Overview screen.

Standard image

The standard image for a bird is now shown in a full layout, includes a caption as well as an option to open the observation of which the image is part.

Quick View

When viewing a bird in the Bird Overview screen, the new Quick View button gives access to the Life History, Marker Events, and primary moult information. This opens these screens as a card so that you can briefly view that information for that bird, close the screen, and continue working where you left of.


The following is new or has changed when it comes to working with observations in the Observations Details screen.


When a location has been manually entered it can be quickly stored in the database by clicking the green plus to the right of the location name. This also works in the Marker Events screen and the BirdRing import screen.


Working with images is now done through one of 3 buttons located below the Images label (which now also shows the total number of images for an observation):

  • Adding images manually. Use the left button to add images one by one. This is the same method as in previous versions.
  • Adding a folder of images to an observation in one action. Use the second button for this. Simply select a folder (it is not necessary to open it) and click Select. All images from that folder will be automatically added.

  • Deleting all images of an observation in one action. Use the third button for this (it is only shown when images have been added to an observation). All images for that observation will be automatically deleted (you will be asked to confirm the action).

When adding images manually, the total number of images that are added for that observation are now shown. It is now also possible to delete images from here (useful when an image has been added that should not have been added).

All images

It is now possible to see all images for a particular day in grid view. Do this by clicking ‘View xx images for <date>’ in the Observation Details screen.

Quick View

When working on an observation in the Observation Details screen, the new Quick View button gives access to the Life History, Marker Events, observations, and primary moult information of the bird you are working on. This opens these screens as a card so that you can briefly view that information, close the screen, and continue working where you left of.

Submitting an observation by e-mail

When a single observation needs to be sent out by e-mail, the text for that e-mail is automatically generated by clicking the e-mail button in the Reporting section.

See also the following video:

Information is taken from the Observation Details, Marker Events and Observers/Ringers screens. Make sure therefore that these are filled out as much as possible (for example: make sure that a ringer is added in Marker Events and that the e-mail address(es) are added in Observers/Ringers).

Reporting options

When keeping track of birds in the database that you ring yourself, the options for submitting the observation and receiving the life history are not needed. These can now be hidden by enabling the option ‘Hide Reporting options’ in the Bird Settings for each bird.


It is now also possible to search on the following fields:

  • Month as a value. Use this to search by a particular month. For example by using ‘8’ for the month August. This is quicker than typing */8/* in the date field, which will give the same result.
  • Year. It is already possible to search by year alone by entering it in the date field, but combining it with the ‘month as value’ field is quicker than for example manually entering ‘*/8/2018’.
  • Current Age (numeric). Use this to search for birds of a particular current age. Example: >4 for birds older than 4 calendar years.
  • Number of characters in the code. Use this to find birds fitted with a ring with a certain number of characters in the code.

Note that some fields are only available in the Search Extra forms.

Life histories

Life histories can be stored in many different ways, all of which are shown in the Life History screen. When only the text version is used for a bird, all other options can be hidden by enabling Preferences > Features > Auto-set Show Text Version Only.

Marker Events

When updating the Marker Events for a bird, the details of one event can now be quickly applied to all other events by clicking ‘Use Event for All Markers’. This is an alternative to using the Copy and Paste buttons, especially when more than 2 events exist.

Importing another database

Some of the improvements include the following:

  • The screens that are shown during the import have been improved.
  • The requirement to first set the size of dialog boxes has been removed.
  • A list of what is new in this version is now also shown and can at any time be accessed via Manage MBDB > What is New?

BirdRing import

When exiting the BirdRing import screen by using the Cancel button and opening BirdRing again, the screen is not reset anymore. Any CSV import that was done and any changes that were made are kept.

The overview that is shown after importing a CSV file or after importing the birds and/or observations into the database, has been improved.

When many new birds are to be imported, setting the ringer and ringing station for them can now be easily done by clicking ‘Batch action: Set ringers’ (only available on a screen for a bird that is added as new).


Additional documentation has been created and all articles are now bundled in the Marked Birds Database Manual.

Other improvements

The Manage MBDB menu now also contains options for:

  • Quickly opening the following Web sites in your default Web browser:
    • The Marked Birds Database Web site
    • The Web site of European Colour Ring Birding
  • Seeing an overview of what is new in this version of the database.

On some small screens such as on laptops, the database screens may be too wide to fit the screen properly. To resolve this, the option Manage MBDB > Preferences > System >  ‘Zoom out on startup’ can be set. When doing so, close the database and open it again. This makes sure that it automatically zooms out the screen by 1 zoom level and thereby making the screen fit again.

The Visual Display ‘Legrings – metal and/or color’ can now also display tibia rings with a 2-character code divided by a single bar (|), as used for gulls by Roland-Jan Buijs in the Netherlands.

And finally…

Just to remind you to regularly create a backup of your database, simply by creating a copy of the whole folder. Preferably store it in a different location (such as on a USB-stick) than the system on which the database is installed.

Do this especially after adding many birds, observations, life histories, images, and so on. Basically, each time you think: “I don’t want to have to go through the process of adding that again”, make a backup. This could be daily, weekly or any time you see fit.

Remember that it is software and computers, anything can happen…

Release Notes – Marked Birds Database – Version 2.0.0

  • MBDB-141 Option to remove all images in one action.
  • MBDB-637 Hide submitted/received fields when observer is identical to ringer.
  • MBDB-834 User is incorrectly asked to update observation age after pasting and saving ringing details without age and date.
  • MBDB-845 Primary moult: change ‘Arrested moult’ into ‘Suspended moult’.
  • MBDB-913 Bird Overview: add date and location to Standard image.
  • MBDB-931 Create database using FileMaker 16.
  • MBDB-942 BirdRing import: inscription color is not imported.
  • MBDB-969 BirdRing import: submitted metal ring should not be set to ‘Life history received’.
  • MBDB-971 Search forms: add Year and Month as separate fields.
  • MBDB-981 Preferences: add option to set life history to ‘Show Text Version Only’.
  • MBDB-983 Marker Events: add option to use data for one Marker for all Markers.
  • MBDB-985 Change messages into cards.
  • MBDB-986 Remove option to resize message dialogs.
  • MBDB-987 Move Marker History from info button in Visual Display to Quick View.
  • MBDB-989 Add Quick View option for quickly viewing specific data without leaving the layout.
  • MBDB-993 Search forms: add Current Age Numeric for an observation.
  • MBDB-995 Observation details: show total number of images.
  • MBDB-999 Add images: show total number of images that have been added.
  • MBDB-1000 Adding image to an observation: add option to remove image.
  • MBDB-1004 Primary moult: add ‘type = resumed’.
  • MBDB-1005 BirdRing: cancelling layout should not clear form.
  • MBDB-1006 BirdRing import: improve display of import results.
  • MBDB-1007 Change MBDB menu options into cards.
  • MBDB-1009 Observation details: make Batch options only available when multiple observations are shown.
  • MBDB-1011 Bird species: remove image (including field and scripts).
  • MBDB-1012 BirdRing import: when matching bird is found, import results should show corresponding species name instead of Euro code name.
  • MBDB-1013 Marker Events: when setting position, ‘Position Unknown’ should be automatically cleared.
  • MBDB-1014 Remove options for adding countries and nationalities.
  • MBDB-1018 Import: improve progress display when importing data from another version.
  • MBDB-1020 Bird images: when changing observation date, date shown does not change.
  • MBDB-1023 Remove ‘Auto-plumage’ feature.
  • MBDB-1025 Show all images for a bird in a grid.
  • MBDB-1026 Add multiple images to an observation by uploading a folder.
  • MBDB-1027 BirdRing import: copy/paste observation should not include the time.
  • MBDB-1028 Import: Show overview of new features during import.
  • MBDB-1029 Popovers: scrolling does not always work.
  • MBDB-1030 Automatically add location from Observation Details or Marker Events to Manage MBDB > Location.
  • MBDB-1031 Bird Overview: Last Seen text not displayed in full.
  • MBDB-1032 Submit observation: automatically create text for sending out an e-mail.
  • MBDB-1034 Layouts are too wide on small monitors.
  • MBDB-1035 BirdRing import: make it possible to automatically set the ringer during CSV import.
  • MBDB-1039 Add important Web sites to Manage MBDB menu.
  • MBDB-1040 Searching: make it possible to search on the number of characters in the code of a ring.
  • MBDB-1041 Manage MBDB menu: add option for viewing what is new in the current version.
  • MBDB-1042 Reporting options are re-set when changing bird species in Observation Details.
  • MBDB-1044 Show all images for an observation date in a grid.
  • MBDB-1048 BirdRing import: Viewing location in Google Maps does not work.
  • MBDB-1049 Auto Age in Observation Details does not work.
  • MBDB-1050 BirdRing: Create a custom message when CSV file cannot be imported.
  • MBDB-1051 Visual Display: add support for tibia rings with 1 bar.

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