Birdtrack: A Comprehensive App Review

Overview of the Birdtrack App

The BirdTrack app is a comprehensive tool for experienced birdwatchers, ornithologists, and nature enthusiasts. It lets you record bird sightings and contribute valuable data to conservation research conducted by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO).
BirdTrack offers logging of sightings, life lists to keep track of species seen over time, sighting maps showing recent observations from other users in your area, and offline functionality for remote locations without internet access.
The user interface is clean, however it is somewhat dated and can be intimidating for new or casual birders due to its advanced functionalities. One downside is that it lacks an integrated field guide, so you’ll need another app or resource handy when identifying birds.

If you’re an experienced bird watcher who wants to contribute data towards avian conservation efforts, then BirdTrack is definitely worth considering. However, if you’re just starting out or prefer a simpler approach with added guidance and community support, there are alternatives available such as Birda.

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User Interface and Design

The Birdtrack app takes a maximalism approach to design, prioritizing options over aesthetics. Navigation within the app can be confusing for first-time users due to multiple nested menus and a lack of clear instructions.While Birdtrack is functional and customisable for power users, its user interface could benefit from improvements in terms of aesthetic appeal and navigational intuitiveness.

Logging Sightings on Birdtrack

The BirdTrack app uses the ‘New Lists’ to record multiple bird sightings and ‘Quick add’ to log one off sightings. These digital logs allow you to input information about the birds you’ve spotted, including date, location, start and end time, and species with their count. Both the ‘New Lists’ and ‘Quick add’ flows are full of settings and switches which can be a bit overwhelming and take some time getting used to. Here is an overview of the ‘New Lists’ and ‘Quick add’ flows:

New list:

  • For when you are adding lots of bird sightings
  • Define your location, date & time and the tap on ‘Add species’
  • Then tap on the species you see in the list & add a count if you like
  • Tap on ‘Finish’ when you have finished birding
  • Edit the date, time and if the list is a Complete or Casual list
  • Then either tap ‘Save as draft’ or ‘Submit’

Quick add:

  • For when you are adding a single bird sighting
  • Add the species
  • Then add a count, the date and time
  • Then define the location on the map
  • Then tap ‘Submit’ to save your sighting

Life Lists on BirdTrack

Birdwatchers love experiencing the excitement of seeing a new species (aka lifer). Every time you record a bird sighting, the app automatically adds the species to your life list. It’s like a personal bird diary. On BirdTrack, viewing your life lists isn’t not straightforward unfortunately. There are a variety of dropdown menus that need to be selected to get what you are looking for. To view your life list, tap on the ‘Stats’ tab in the app’s main menu. You’ll find a comprehensive record of every species logged, along with details like date and location.

The Sighting Map in the Birdtrack App

Another notable feature of the Birdtrack app is its sighting map. The Sighting Map in the Birdtrack App provides a real-time view of bird sightings from other users over the last week, enabling both beginners and experts to gain valuable insights into avian activity.
This tool offers valuable insights but it is better suited to experienced birdwatchers. By analyzing sightings on this map experienced birdwatchers, can estimate where certain species might be found, enhancing the chance of spotting them.
To use this feature, simply navigate to the ‘Sightings’ tab in the app. Here, you’ll find a detailed map dotted with markers indicating recent sightings.
A unique aspect that sets Birdtrack’s sighting map apart is its integration with weather data. The app overlays current weather conditions onto the sightings map, which can be helpful in understanding how climate affects bird behavior and migration patterns. This feature is however not included in the app and is only available on the Birdtrack website.
While informative, keep in mind that accuracy depends largely on user submissions; areas with fewer active users may have less reliable data coverage. Despite the potential limitations, don’t let that prevent you from venturing out and uncovering new bird-watching destinations.

Offline Functionality on Birdtrack

The Birdtrack app is built to provide service even in disconnected settings, which is perfect for birdwatcher exploring remote locations with little to no internet access. The offline functionality allows users to record sightings and store them locally until they regain an internet connection.
This ensures that no sighting goes unrecorded due to lack of network coverage. Once back online, all saved data can be easily synced with your account.
However, bear in mind that not all features can be utilized without an internet connection; for example, viewing maps or accessing species information from the database requires connectivity.

Data Collection for Conservation Research

One of Birdtrack key goals is its commitment to generating sightings data for conservation research. The app is developed by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), a leading organization in avian conservation.
Every sighting logged on Birdtrack contributes valuable data to ongoing research projects at BTO. This makes every user an active participant in important scientific work, simply by enjoying their hobby.
Your sightings help monitor changes in bird populations over time, which can indicate environmental shifts and threats. By logging your sightings year-round, you contribute to understanding seasonal movements of different species. Information about where birds are seen helps identify critical habitats that need protection.
The integration between citizen science and professional research creates a powerful tool for bird conservation. It’s not just about spotting rare species; it’s also about understanding trends and patterns among all birds – common or uncommon alike.
This feature fosters collaboration between enthusiasts and scientists towards preserving our feathered friends’ habitats around the world.

Room for Improvement

While the Birdtrack app has many commendable features, there is always room for improvement.
It would be great if the app had an integrated field guide, so users wouldn’t have to switch between different resources to identify birds. This would make the process much smoother, especially when out in the field with limited internet access.
While Birdtrack is a fantastic tool for advanced users, beginners might find it a bit too complex. The complexity of Birdtrack may be daunting for novices, which could lead to a lack of enthusiasm in taking up birdwatching as a hobby.
Some users might also feel that Birdtrack’s focus on data collection for conservation research by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) takes away from the fun of birdwatching. Though not everyone might find it enjoyable, contributing to conservation is still vital.
Adding a more user-friendly design and an integrated field guide would make Birdtrack more accessible to birders of all levels. Fun challenges or social elements could also help engage users while still contributing to avian conservation efforts.

Alternatives to Birdtrack

If you’re tired of using Birdtrack, there are several other birdwatching apps that might be a better fit. One such app is Birda. Birda stands out because of its user-friendly interface that makes it perfect for both new and experienced birders. One key feature is its integrated field guide, which helps users identify birds without needing another application. Birdwatching becomes more engaging with Birda’s fun challenges. Plus, it has a locations feature that allows users to discover popular birdwatching spots nearby or around the world. Another advantage of using Birda is its really active community of fellow bird enthusiasts. Post an unidentified species on Birda and you’ll get tons of help identifying it from other users.

In addition to Birda, another alternative worth considering is eBird. This platform also offers various features like real-time data collection and sharing options but lacks some unique aspects found in the former.

Birda vs Birdtrack

Both Birda and Birdtrack have robust offerings for birdwatchers. They both provide detailed sighting logging and contribute sightings data to scientific research and conservation. However, Birda stands out with its integrated species guide, species suggestions, challenges andlocations database. Birda’s rapid growth and planned future developments also make it a promising platform for birdwatchers around the globe.

While Birdtrack offers some unique features, Birda’s all-in-one platform, growing community, and a strong vision for the future position it as the preferred choice for many birdwatchers.

Connect to nature and like-minded people while you discover and explore the birdlife around you! Amplify your birdwatching experience with Birda today. 

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