Author Archive

ChirpTracker Blog Facelift July 28th, 2009

We’ve given the ChirpTracker Blog a face lift to match the look and feel of We plan on improving the blog and keeping it more up to date to let you know what we’re doing. In the past weeks we’ve been doing a lot of work behind the scenes and you’ll soon see the rewards of this as we’ll be able to launch new features at a much more rapid and more thoroughly tested pace. Stay tuned for more updates and as always, good birding!

New Share Button July 25th, 2009

We’ve introduced a new way to share your sightings and updates. You can now easily and quickly get the full, permanent URL of the update or sighting. You can also quickly Email, Twitter, send to Facebook, or bookmark on Delicious by clicking the icons in the share box. To do so, simply look for the “Share” link and click it.

Share Button Image

This will open the share box and you’ll have quick and easy access to all the different ways to share!

Share Button Image

ChirpTracker Mobile, Now with Auto-location! June 29th, 2009

ChirpTracker Mobile ( has just received a small, but substantial update. We’ve created an all new Sighting form to make sharing your sightings from the field easier than ever. The updates include:

  • Brand new, easy to use form. This form has an individual field for Species, Location and your update text, just like the web interface!
  • Auto-complete species names as you type. The new interface will finish the species name that you’re typing, as you type it. For example, if you start typing in “Red tailed H”, a nice list of species will show up below the text box and “Red-tailed Hawk” will be at the top. Just tap on the name of the species you want and you’re done!
  • Automatic location. This is a great new feature. If you’re on the iPhone 3.0 OS, you will see a button appear below the location box, it says “Find my location”. Simply touch that button and we will automatically find your current location! Now that’s cool.
  • Interface updates. As with the recent interface update of the website, we’ve also slightly updated the mobile site with some cleaner graphics and easier to use layout. We’ve also updated your themes to match the updated themes on the website.

Following are a few screenshots to illustrate our changes:

What are you waiting for? Get outside, go birding and try out the new and improved ChirpTracker Mobile from the field! As always we would love to hear your feedback!

Out With the Old, In With the New June 16th, 2009

For the past few weeks and months we’ve been doing a lot behind the scenes of ChirpTracker to build a flexible system that will tailor to birder’s needs. Tonight we’re releasing something that you can see, feel and play with; an updated UI. While this certainly is far from the finished product, this update brings us one step closer to what our original vision was for ChirpTracker. In this update you’ll notice quite a few changes:

  • An all new sharing interface. This interface will allow you to quickly share sightings, updates, photo, video, or even audio updates with ease.
  • All new way to post sightings. Sightings are now easier and faster to share than ever. You can quickly display a map to pinpoint your sighting if you aren’t sure of your location. Many of you will also be happy to hear that you aren’t required to use the sightings format that you are use to. Using the new form will allow you to share your sightings faster and easier than before.
  • Reorganized links and some new pages. We’ve reorganized some links to make things easier to find and also added a few new pages, such as the Fledglings page which you can use to see new users who join ChirpTracker!
  • Refreshed look. The overall look of ChirpTracker has been slightly refreshed and modernized. Please use Safari, Firefox, or Chrome to view a much enhanced version of the site over Internet Explorer.
  • Update themes. While the themes are still fairly simple and plain, they have been refreshed and one new “Earth” theme has been made available!
  • Extra options drop down. You will notice a small, handy drop down menu in the new sharing interface. Currently the only tool available is “Shorten URLs”. Many of you will be very happy to see that simply clicking on this will AUTOMATICALLY shorten any long URL into a short and sweet URL. Enjoy.

Here are a few screenshots of the new sharing interface:
The new Sharing form:
New Sharing Form

The new Sharing form in use:
New Sharing Form

Internet Explorer uses may find some bugs here or there, and if you do, please report them. One thing to remember when participating in a private beta is that you have to put up with some bugs every now and again :) . As always we would love to hear your feedback. We will be rolling a similar set of updates out to ChirpTracker Mobile in the next few days so that posting a sighting will become just as easy from there!

If you don’t see the new updates right away and things look a little funky, try clearing your cache in your web browser and refreshing. An easy way to do this is to hold the SHIFT key and press the REFRESH button in your browser at the same time (Shift + Refresh).

Introducing ChirpTracker Mobile May 31st, 2009

As per our commitment to make posting a sighting from the field easier, we’re excited to announce the first release of ChirpTracker Mobile ( In our developments, we’re eliminating the need to go out in the field, bird, then come home to a computer to enter data. ChirpTracker Mobile brings us one step closer in achieving this vision and allows users to report sightings from the field as they happen from any mobile device, instantly in real time. ChirpTracker Mobile is the second installment of our mobile suite as you can also post an update or share a sighting via text messaging or email.

ChirpTracker Mobile is compatible with almost all modern day smart phones (iPhone, Blackberry, Android, etc) and it offers the same functionality that is available on our main site. Each user will have the ability to stay current on updates and sightings from their friends via their home and public timelines, update or post a sighting themselves and explore the entire database of species with access to all images, species data and species sightings. To begin using ChirpTracker Mobile, simply head over to with your mobile device.

Below are some screenshots of a few selected mobile devices with ChirpTracker mobile running:


Tip: With the iPhone you can select to “bookmark” the site and it will appear as if it were an app on your iPhone desktop.

As our development with ChirpTracker Mobile progresses, we’ll continue to release updates and enhancements that will make birding easier and more efficient than ever before. As always, please continue to send us bugs or compatibility issues with your mobile device.

RSS? Yes, Please! March 15th, 2009

Do you like RSS? We do. That’s why we have created some new RSS feeds for you! These new RSS feeds offer a new dimension to ChirpTracker. Lets go over some of the possibilities:

  1. Subscribe to feeds on ChirpTracker to receive up to the minute updates in a standardized format
  2. Use your new Sightings RSS feed to show your latest sightings on your blog!
  3. Subscribe to specific users, your friends, or all of ChirpTracker and receive the updates on your mobile device.
  4. Many, many other possibilities

Finding your different feeds couldn’t be easier. Each page that has an RSS feed automatically knows that one exists. You can tell if there is an RSS feed by looking in your URL bar in your browser, for example take a look at the screenshot below:


There is also another way to find RSS feeds on ChirpTracker. If there is an RSS feed on the page, it will show up in the bottom right hand corner of the page with the standard RSS icon. Take a look at the screenshot below:


The icon will appear and there will be text beside the icon describing the type of RSS feed that is on the page.  Our next blog post will cover a few short tutorials on how to integrate these RSS feeds into your website and/or blog. We hope you enjoy these new updates and we’ll continue to roll them out as fast as we can make them!

Species Pages Updates March 13th, 2009

We have updated all of our Species pages with more images, videos, data and even an updated look. What’s new in this release:

  1. New index page for browsing species
  2. Species data for over 500 different species from our partners, BirdGuides
  3. Additional images
  4. New layout and look

The first big addition we have made is the new Species index page. Below you can see a screenshot of what this looks like. The new species page allows you to browse species or search by using the search box at the top of the page. We also are displaying the top 5 most sighted species in the right hand column.

Species Pages

We have also managed to add data for more than 500 North American and European species, greatly attributed to our partners, BirdGuides. With this addition of species data we have also added hundreds of images and videos to species across the site. When you get a moment, explore around and look at some of the great shots and footage we have on the site!

The last update we have made to the species pages is a new, refreshed layout. Below you can see the new look and layout:

Red-tailed Hawk Screenshot

You can see we have added new tabs on the top of the Overview page. These tabs are used to display all the data we have about the species. We have also reorganized the right hand navigation. You can now see how many sightings, images and videos each species has simply by glancing at the numbers in the right hand navigation.

We will continue to add more and new images and videos as well as add more data to species that don’t have any. We hope you enjoy this update!

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.



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:

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!