Archive for February, 2009

Interface Updates – New Nav February 25th, 2009

We’ll be going through some changes and improvements to the interface of the site over the next few weeks and to kick off the interface updates we’ve released a new navigation bar! The updates are small but noticeable, take a look at the screenshots below that compares the old and the new.

Old

New

You will notice that some links have moved and there are now drop down’s. Take a few moments to familiarize yourself with this new nav and the new links underneath “Me” and “Explore”. The nav displays your profile picture and also the link color depends on the theme you choose! We hope you like this update and as always, are open to suggestions and thoughts!

North American Bird Phenology Program February 23rd, 2009

For 90 years starting in 1880, thousands of amateur scientists across the U.S. carefully tracked the onset and timing of bird migration, sending hand-written bird record cards to government scientists until 1970. Those 6 million cards are a largely forgotten gold mine of information – if they can be entered into a database.

The USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center is asking for volunteers to help transcribe these cards. More than 100,000 cards have been scanned, and volunteers from anywhere in the world can log in and transfer the data for as many or few of these cards as they have time to do. This is a way you can help with important bird research even for a few minutes a day – plus you get a glimpse at some amazing historical records!

If you have some spare time in your busy schedules we encourage you to participate in this program. For more information you can head on over to the Phenology program website: http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/bpp/

Birds Travel North for Winter February 22nd, 2009

I came across this interesting video by CBSNewsOnline that talks about how birds over the past decades have been traveling farther north because of climate changes. Enjoy.

According to a report, many species of birds are responding to increasing climate change by traveling north instead of south. John Blackstone reports.

Locations, Notes and More! February 21st, 2009

We’ve released a lot of improvements and new functionality to ChirpTracker today. Here is a quick overview of what we have changed and improved on in this release:

  1. Improved location recognition
  2. Ability to update your sighting location by dragging the sighting pin on your sighting map
  3. Ability to add “Additional Sighting Notes” to your sightings
  4. Multiple bug fixes

The main focus of this update was to improve location recognition. We’ve completely re-written how we figure out where the location you type in is. It is still not perfect by any means, however it is greatly improved. We now recognize almost all bodies of water,  national forests and national parks. For example you can input a national park instead of a city and state and it will register as a location. Wildlife refuges are still hit or miss but we do know that some work. One suggestion that we do have is to try to be as specific as possible when typing in your location. We will have another round of improvements for international location recognition shortly and also another full release some time down the road.

The next update has to do with one of our best beta testers, bevson. She brought to our attention that traveling birders usually don’t know where they are (zip code and “city” wise). If you’re a traveling birder and have no clue where you are, that’s ok! Simply type in anything close or any place you know of, then go into your sighting details and move the pin to the location. We’ll update the message text and link for you!  

Another feature that we’ve added is the ability to add “Additional Sighting Notes” to any of your sightings. There are often times when you would like to be more descriptive and the 140 character limit doesn’t allow for a lot of detail. If you want, you can go into your sighting details and add as much extra information about the sighting as you would like! You can use limited HTML markup in here as well, for example if you want to bold or emphasise some of the text description. To add these details, all you need to do is click on the content of the “Additional Sighting Notes” and it will bring up an editable text area, then simply hit “Save” or “Cancel” and you’re done! It is as simple as that!

We hope you enjoy all of these new updates and hopefully it will make ChirpTracker more enjoyable to use. As always, if you have any comments or suggestions we would love to hear from you! Stay tuned for our next update and as always, good birding!

ChirpTracker.com Private Beta! February 20th, 2009

A lot has been happening with ChirpTracker since our last post. We’ve retired ChirpChatter and brought the micro-blogging features back into ChirpTracker and now are back to one single app that will have all of our features. ChirpTracker is now the the ultimate social network for birders. You can post sightings, converse and connect with other birders, use advanced technological features with ease, and many many more features to come!

With that being said, we have finally begun private beta testing ChirpTracker.com. We’ve already received some fantastic feedback from our beta users and they have really helped us work out a lot of the kinks we’ve had. If you’re interested in participating in the private beta, you can simply email us at contact@chirptracker.com and request an invite to the private beta and we’ll send you one within 48 hours.

We’re currently closing in on getting all of the basic functionality down and will soon be working on and rolling out some of the really cool features! We’ll be using the blog to keep you updated on these new features as well as any new happenings with ChirpTracker.

Stay tuned and good birding to everyone!