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This page contains 47 reader comments. Click here to view (latest Thu 16/08/12 12:47).

BirdGuides app
The BirdGuides app for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch gives you instant access to all of our recent bird news and gallery images. Just like Bird News Extra, it also allows you to set up custom bird news filters on a county, region, national and species-specific basis. We've also added a "nearby" function to allow easy access to the bird news in your immediate vicinity.

On opening the app, you'll be asked to sign in or register. Sign in using the email address and password that you currently use for your existing BirdGuides account; if you do not have a BirdGuides account, registration is free and requires nothing more than a name, email address and password. Once you have signed in/registered in the app, the app homepage will be displayed showing the most recent news and gallery images.

Accessing the news

To view a list of all the recent news, tap the "Recent News" bar. A full list of all recent news is now displayed. To access details for a particular sighting, tap once on the report. County and the date/time of the sighting will be displayed for all users; to access specific site details and notes relating to the sighting, a Bird News Anywhere subscription is required. Existing Bird News Anywhere subscribers, once signed in, will automatically be able to access these details. For those who do not currently subscribe to a BirdGuides news service, an annual Bird News Anywhere subscription can be purchased for £40. A Bird News Anywhere subscription can be purchased online at http://www.birdguides.com/estore/p-810-birdguides-bird-news-services.aspx.

For those who already subscribe to one of the BirdGuides news services, a Bird News Anywhere subscription can be added onto you current subscription for the bargain price of £10. To add Bird News Anywhere to your current BirdGuides subscription, call 0800 919391 during office hours.

Tapping the Filtered button (subscribers only) will bring up a list of recent news based on your personal filters. To edit your filters, tap the Back button to return to the app homepage, then tap the cog in the top left. Tap Edit Filters and edit, add or delete accordingly. Filters can also be edited online.

To find out what birds have been seen near you, tap the Nearby button. You will need to have Location Services active on your device to run Nearby news — either accept the message that should appear in your device the first time Nearby is used, or edit the Location Services in your device Settings.

On all three sightings pages, tapping the circular arrow button in the top right will refresh the news (or, if you prefer, use the "pull down" gesture). "New news" (that which has been reported since your last refresh) will show a small green bar to the left hand side. This bar will disappear once you have opened the news item to read details or following your next refresh.

Reporting your news

If you are lucky enough to come across a bird that you think should be on our news service, or if you would like to give an update on a sighting already featured, you can report your sighting via the app (registered users only). Tap Report on the bottom bar. Species, date & time and location are all required; and either species count or details needs to be completed before the record can be submitted. The date and time automatically defaults to the current time, but you can manually alter these. Location can be selected in one of three ways — by manually choosing a site, by manually entering a grid reference, or by locating the site on a map. If you choose the latter, the map location will default to your device's current location; tap Place Pin to mark the bird's location. You will then be required to enter a site name on the report form — this is especially important for birds that are, for example, near the boundary between two distinct nature reserves.

Records submitted using the BirdGuides app are shared with the BTO. If you have made an observation that may not warrant reporting on our bird news service (generally an observation of a common breeding or wintering species), we recommend submitting your sighting directly to BirdTrack.

The Gallery

From the app home page, clicking on the "Gallery" bar takes you to a gallery of our most recently uploaded photographs. Tapping once on brings up a larger image. You can swipe left/right through the larger images. Double tapping on a larger image zooms in/out; single tapping hides/shows details; tapping the information icon in the bottom left of the text panel displays further photograph details, where available. To return to the previous screen, tap Back.

Navigation

We know that iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches have a tendency to become one-stop-shops for anything that needs doing in one's life; so we've tried to make the BirdGuides app as integrated and easy to use as possible. One feature that we've carefully crafted is the ability to access maps and directions directly from the app. When in a news item, tapping on the location name brings up a Google map showing the site location. Tapping Directions opens the location in the device Maps app and automatically generates directions to there from your current location.

In many cases, it is possible to export the destination details for use in your preferred navigator (e.g. TomTom satnav). After tapping Directions, tap the red (destination) pin, then tap the information button. You can now either manually enter the address details into your satnav or, if using TomTom on your device, save the destination as a contact. Close Maps app, open TomTom app and select Navigate to... Contact, and select the saved destination. Note that in some cases, especially for more remote destinations, address details or postcode are not sufficiently complete for complete accuracy. We won't take responsibility for people driving into marshes, off cliffs, or the bird not being present when "You've reached your destination!".

Coming soon

Despite its recent release, we're already looking at ways in which we can improve the BirdGuides app. We're pleased to say that plans for push notifications — messages that appear on your screen when news is released, similar to a text message — are already in the pipeline. iOS 4 (the current Apple device operating system) made it impossible to introduce fully functioning push notifications into the BirdGuides app; however, the release of iOS 5 and its Notification Centre this autumn will change all of that and push notifications will make their way onto the BirdGuides app. Further details will be made available later in the year. Keep an eye on the weekly newsletter, or follow us on Twitter to be kept up-to-date with developments.

And Android users never fear. There is a version on its way. Again - follow us on Twitter for the latest developments.

The BirdGuides app is free to download. To download the app, visit the iTunes app store: http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/birdguides/id418131898

The information in this article was believed correct at the time of writing. BirdGuides accepts no responsibility for errors, or for any consequences of acting on information in the article. The opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and are not necessarily shared by BirdGuides Ltd.

hide section Reader comments (47)

#1
Brilliant, just downloaded it, very easy to use, looking forward to using it in the field. I'm now able to justify my upgrade to an iPhone a few months ago to my wife!
   Mike Orritt, 17/08/11 13:33Report inappropriate post Report 
#2
Wow - sounds awesome. Can't wait to get it on Android!
   Marcus Conway - ebirder, 17/08/11 14:31Report inappropriate post Report 
#3
Android please it is more popular than apple.
   Josh Jones, 17/08/11 15:45Report inappropriate post Report 
#4
Thankyou for this. been waiting for a long time for this app :D
   Mike Robinson, 17/08/11 16:46Report inappropriate post Report 
#5
Another vote for Android! It's market share is twice as big as Apple these days.
   J Nobel, 17/08/11 16:59Report inappropriate post Report 
#6
Android all the way please.
   Chris, 17/08/11 17:06Report inappropriate post Report 
#7
In case it's being overlooked, can I draw attention to the penultimate paragraph of the article: an Android version is planned.
   Dave Dunford (admin), 17/08/11 17:11
#8
I'm not a subscriber but downloaded this a few days ago for a nosey. Like the simplicity and especially the reporting page. My only concern is the speed, it may be the area I'm in but I've found it really slow, it's quicker to check Bird News Extra via a web browser, is it possible to switch off the gallery and have it as minimal as possible?
   James Thomas, 17/08/11 17:55Report inappropriate post Report 
#9
Awesome. Have just downloaded and looks great. Having previously used a web browser on my iPhone, this is ideal for checking sightings, even more so with the nearby feature, and it's free too! Gallery dosen't seem to be working at the moment though.
   Will Rawles, 17/08/11 19:09Report inappropriate post Report 
#10
Any chance of a windows version?
   Chris James, 18/08/11 08:20Report inappropriate post Report 
#11
Yes please, Windows Phone 7 version would be great.
   Dan Forder, 18/08/11 09:20Report inappropriate post Report 
#12
Looks good! Gallery and Filtered sightings not working at present which is a shame as I particularly want the Filter working which gives it an edge over looking at the Bird Guides site on a browser. I assume that this is just a teething problem.
   Adam Hartley, 18/08/11 09:27Report inappropriate post Report 
#13
#9, #12: We've not been able to replicate the reported problems with the Gallery or Filtering - if those encountering problems could forward details (including any error messages) to webmaster@birdguides.com we'll investigate further. Re #12, filtering is available in Bird News Extra too (provided you're a subscriber) - see "Edit filter" in the right-hand menu.
   Dave Dunford (admin), 18/08/11 09:47
#14
Dave, Do I need to be a Birds Anywhere subscriber to use the new iPhone App or does my current subscription to Birdguides cover me? Thanks Martin
   Martin Catchesides, 18/08/11 10:07Report inappropriate post Report 
#15
Martin #14: the app gives basic information (essentially species and county) for free, but for full record details and filtering you need a Bird News Anywhere subscription. Your current subscription is for Bird News Extra, so you'll need to add Bird News Anywhere for £10 as detailed in the article.
   Dave Dunford (admin), 18/08/11 10:52
#16
I've got bird news anywhere so this is a nice addition to the facilities available especially the ability to post sightings easily. Is it possible to see all the day's news other than recent news? The gallery does not seem the work for me either but I have got one of the old style iphones. Does this make a difference? Mike Campbell
   Mike Campbell, 18/08/11 12:10Report inappropriate post Report 
#17
We've fixed the Gallery bug - it was falling over when encountering a particular image that hadn't been moderated properly. Should work without any need to upgrade (possibly just a refresh needed); it was a server issue. Still looking at the filtering issue in #12.
   Dave Dunford (admin), 18/08/11 12:54
#18
I can see the benefits of the 'report' feature which seems to work even if not subscribed. Currently without an alert function I cannot see the benefits for an iPhone over the combination of text alert and checking Birdguides through the web browser, especially as the text alert will work when there is no Internet access.
   Sacha Barbato, 18/08/11 16:19Report inappropriate post Report 
#19
#12: Filtering issue now fixed. Will only have affected new users of the app who hadn't previously used and activated Bird News Anywhere.

#18: The temporary lack of an "alert function" is covered in the article (see "Coming soon"). The main advantages of the app over Bird News Extra and Text Alert are (a) cost, (b) ease of use, and (c) geographical functionality. The iPhone allows a slicker interface than browsers can provide, and the app uses the GPS features of the iPhone (not available via a mobile browser) for automatic location-specific information (e.g. "nearby" birds and satnav directions).
   Dave Dunford (admin), 19/08/11 11:03
#20
Any plans for a Blackberry version. I suspect that the answer will be no as Blackberry dosent seem to be compatible with anything
   Darren Pearce, 21/08/11 19:56Report inappropriate post Report 
#21
Great app this. Particularly like the reporting feature. It's alot friendlier to navigate on the iPhone in comparison with the web browser. I would like to see the site included on the non-subscriber version as per the web version. Good stuff
   Josh M, 23/08/11 11:20Report inappropriate post Report 
#22
I would prefer the gallery to show just the uk rarities rather than the whole gallery. I think the rarity photos are of most interest when out and about and make more sense than the whole gallery.
   Pete Hadfield, 25/08/11 22:02Report inappropriate post Report 
#23
I am delighted to hear about the new APP (I can downloasd it on to my wife's I phone) and also being avaialable for Android. But like myself a lot of people use Blackerry. Dave when will it be available on Blackberry?
   Gerry, 26/08/11 09:34Report inappropriate post Report 
#24
#20, #23: I'm afraid we have no current plans to produce a BlackBerry version of the app, though (as previously mentioned) an Android version is in the pipeline.
#21: I'm afraid that's unlikely; it was a conscious decision to omit the site as an incentive to subscribe.
#22: I've suggested an option to filter the gallery for future releases.
   Dave Dunford (admin), 26/08/11 16:12
#25
Good to hear an android version is planned. Can you give us a time frame please? Also for issuing android versions of your other great apps?
   Chris Seaton, 29/08/11 07:41Report inappropriate post Report 
#26
This is great and I look forward to the planned notifications coming along. One thing, where a grid reference is supplied with a sighting is it possible to have the maps and directions point to this as opposed to nearest town. I use a free OS Convertor app which converts GRs to gps location, but it would be great to have this 'in app' .
   Richard Ford, 30/08/11 07:33Report inappropriate post Report 
#27
I currently have an 16GB IPod Touch, would this app be of any use to me while in the field without an internet connection?
   James J Anderson, 03/09/11 16:11Report inappropriate post Report 
#28
Just downloaded this app, runs great, easy to navigate, photos look great.
   Niels Jensen, 08/09/11 20:49Report inappropriate post Report 
#29
Great app. Can we have an option to turn specific filters on/off rather than having to delete them if they are not required for a time? Thanks.
   Andy, 12/09/11 23:33Report inappropriate post Report 
#30
Any news on the Android version?
   Steve Wing, 13/09/11 07:59Report inappropriate post Report 
#31
I would like to be able to wholeheartedly support this app as I make use of many Birdguides products. I am a bird news anywhere subscriber and at present this is the better bet to access birdnews in the field. The app is very intermittent and I am finding that I can only rarly get it to refresh with current bird news even using my home wifi connection let alone a 3G connection in the field. Hope an update will fix this soon.
   Richard Ford, 13/09/11 14:00Report inappropriate post Report 
#32
Excellent app, just started using it today, Highly recommended.
   Simon Bishop, 14/09/11 21:14Report inappropriate post Report 
#33
"In case it's being overlooked, can I draw attention to the penultimate paragraph of the article: an Android version is planned. Dave Dunford (admin), 17/08/11 17:11" In case it 'has' been overloked, any news of a release date for the Android version?
   Steve Wing, 22/09/11 17:29Report inappropriate post Report 
#34
+1 for Android (cos the world doesnt revolve around Apple). Do you have a timeframe?
   Alan, Strathclyde, 24/09/11 12:47Report inappropriate post Report 
#35
#30, #33, #34: sorry for the delay in replying; we're always slightly reluctant to quote a firm date as these sorts of projects have a habit of hitting unforeseen snags. However, it should be weeks not months.
   Dave Dunford (admin), 03/10/11 18:07
#36
Thanks Dave, just an indication is helpful, especially as it sounds soon
   Chris Seaton, 08/10/11 11:57Report inappropriate post Report 
#37
Now ios5 is out will we be seeing the push notifications soon? Cheers :)
   Pete Hadfield, 17/10/11 21:30Report inappropriate post Report 
#38
Blimey...you don't give us long! The new version with push notification support is in prep.
   Dave Dunford (admin), 17/10/11 22:23
#39
Just installed this and I think it's great - apart from the directions. Whenever I ask for directions my current location flashes (and it's accurate). But it then plots a route from Bristol? I have to manually choose 'current location' from the drop-down. How do I get it to acknowledge that I'm in Sussex, not Bristol (I haven't even been to Bristol for three years).
   Frank Hollis, 27/10/11 12:25Report inappropriate post Report 
#40
#35: Any news yet?
   Steve Wing, 29/10/11 08:04Report inappropriate post Report 
#41
Another vote for the android version here!
   Buzzard, 01/11/11 14:45Report inappropriate post Report 
#42
When using the filtered view, shouldn't the Gallery represent the filter you have selected? I filter on Scarce and Rarer and would like the Gallery to do the same.
   Alan Matthews, 03/11/11 15:19Report inappropriate post Report 
#43
just typed birdguides on my htc desire hd and low and behold! up comes the app via itunes!! its on my android now and works well!! download the itunes first it does work, different phones may have to configure it, i had to put phone on charge as it took a lot of power downloading!
   Frederick William Franks, 03/11/11 21:04Report inappropriate post Report 
#44
#43 How does that work? I have tried typing in 'Birdguides' in the Market app search and nothing happens.
   Steve Wing, 10/11/11 14:57Report inappropriate post Report 
#45
Same here.. Samsung Galaxy Android doesn't pick it up
   Paddy, 10/11/11 19:19Report inappropriate post Report 
#46
Same for me Paddy & Steve - not appearing on my market app search on htc desire (not hd though)
   Chris Seaton, 20/11/11 09:32Report inappropriate post Report 
#47
The Android version is now available - see http://www.birdguides.com/webzine/article.asp?a=3401.
   Dave Dunford (admin), 16/08/12 12:47

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