Marked Birds Database – Version 2.3.0 available

I’m happy to announce the release of the Marked Birds Database version 2.3.0. It contains 1 new feature, various improvements and fixes.

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.

About this release

Please note that this release will be the last one for quite a while. Field work for the breeding season starts early April, meaning that I will have little to no time for the database. The season will last until the end of July, so expect no work to be done to the database until August at the earliest (with the exception of fixing any major issues should they arise).

New feature

The main new feature of this release is the option to track custom data. As you know, 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:

This is what it looks like in Bird Settings:

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:

In a similar way, you could set the custom fields in Bird Settings to ‘Research’ and name a field ‘Wintering location’ and another one ‘Earliest egg laying date’ and yet another one ‘Average egg laying date’ while hiding the other fields. Here, you would set the two egg laying fields to type ‘Date’ so that you can easily keep track of dates.

Notes:

  • All fields will be available for ALL observations or for ALL birds.
    In other words: if you used the examples above, you will be tracking measurements for all observations and the wintering location and egg laying dates for all birds.
  • 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.

Improvements

Some of the improvements include the following:

Bird Overview: first observation of a calendar year. Since the previous version this observation is coloured yellow. It was found though that on some screens the intensity is a bit too bright. The brightness can now be set via Manage MBDB > Preferences > Features > Observations > First-calendar year color intensity.

Choose between Bright, Normal, and Dimmed.

Search Extra: options now stay in view. The Search Extra screens contain many fields, and it will be typical to scroll down the page. In previous versions, scrolling down made the options at the top of the page go out of view. This has been changed so that they are always visible.

Documentation

For documentation about using the database, see the Marked Birds Database Manual.

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. You might also want to add the date to the folder name so that you can easily recognize when the backup was made.

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 2.3.0

  • MBDB-1129 Observation Details > ‘View images for date’ incorrectly shown
  • MBDB-1131 Image total in Observation Details incorrectly set when cancelling the process of adding an image
  • MBDB-1136 List of Marker Types is empty
  • MBDB-1138 BirdRing import: bird age is incorrectly imported
  • MBDB-1125 Add support for tracking custom data
  • MBDB-1130 Make colour of first calendar year observation configurable
  • MBDB-1132 Observation Details: combine the tabs ‘Interactions’ and ‘Breeding’
  • MBDB-1133 Bird Settings: better display the available options
  • MBDB-1135 Search Extra: keep search options in view
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