What is the SpotFinder

Do you recognize this: you are in an unknown place and an hour or two to spend. Of course you would like to read rings. But where to find them?

The BirdRing SpotFinder helps you discover good spots to read rings. The SpotFinder shows locations on a map where different species have been read before.

When you move the map or zoom out, use the refresh button in the right top corner to show additional observations.

You can also filter observations for a specific month or species, see the red button on the picture below. This limits the observations shown on the map to your selection:

When you click on a spot, you have the option to directly start Google Maps (button right below corner) to navigate to the spot:

You can also click on one of the clustered spots, to see which species and numbers have been read on that spot:

You can find the SpotFinder in the menu (three dots) in the right top corner of the home screen of BirdRing.

Observations in vulnerable areas (e.g. breeding colonies) won’t be shown. Contact me if you want me to add a vulnerable area.

The SpotFinder uses observation data that have been collected with the BirdRing app: just species, date/time and location will be collected by the SpotFinder and only if the user explicitly gives permission to collect the data. The SpotFinder does not collect any ring data (that is only for the researcher) or personal data. Anyone that does not want the SpotFinder to collect his data, can keep using BirdRing as usual, without using SpotFinder.

What can I do with BirdRing?

With BirdRing you can easily capture your observations. BirdRing determines the right ring code and stores location, date, time and many other data. BirdRing prevents common mistakes, like unused letters or colours. You can upload the observation data to connected websites and you can email observations to yourself in csv (Excel) format. BirdRing directly shows the ‘life history’ of birds that have been uploaded to connected websistes.

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What is the purpose of BirdRing?

The primary objective of BirdRing is to simplify administrative actions around collecting and submitting observations of birds with colour or metal rings. BirdRing saves time, that you can spend to go out birdwatching more often or other things you like.

By making things easier, BirdRing hopes more observers join in collecting and submitting observations. BirdRing also prevents mistakes, by several checks in the app and because you don’t have to copy data from your notebook into your computer.

BirdRing also saves time for researchers by providing a standard format for receiving collected data by many observers that can be processed automatically. (Contact me if you need any help with that.)

And last but not least: it’s just fun, like viewing the life history of birds after uploading the observation data to a connected website.

What is BirdRing-RUG?

BirdRing-RUG is the extended version of BirdRing and is intended for bird observers that read colour rings and metal rings for scientific projects of the University of Groningen (RUG). BirdRing-RUG allows you to enter species-specific data fields that require more background knowledge (so far only for Black-tailed Godwit). The CSV file can be automatically imported into the RUG black-tailed godwit database.

BirdRing-RUG can be installed next to BirdRing. Both apps do not influence each other. You can install BirdRing-RUG here:

If you are also interested in a specific variant (tailored for your organisation) of BirdRing, please contact me.

I have an iPhone.

Congratulations, most iPhone owners are very satisfied with their phone. However BirdRing is not available for iPhone and I also do not have plans to create an iPhone version. Some observers have chosen to use an additional Android phone or tablet, so they can use BirdRing. You can use BirdRing fine without internet connection, so you don’t need to pay for an additional mobile internet subscription. You can buy a great new Android devices for no more than about 100 euro. And of course you can try to find a used device for even less.

Privacy and permissions of the app

BirdRing does not collect personal information. Period. BirdRing does need two specific Android permissions for certain functions. Please read this explanation which permissions are required and why:

  1. Location: BirdRing helps you by using the location (GPS) function of your device to show the map, where you can click to enter the bird location. The location function is only active when you are entering a new observation. When you turn off your screen or switch to another app, the location function is deactivated to save power.
  2. Photo/media/files: this may seem strange, but do not worry, BirdRing does not look at your private files. This permission is required to temporarily save a (CSV) file on your device and pass it through to your email app, when you are sending your observation data to yourself.

BirdRing also uses some Google services: Play Store, Maps and Geo Location. You can read Google’s privacy statements to find out how Google uses your data.

Can I use BirdRing without internet connection?

Yes you can, for most things BirdRing works just fine without an internet connection. So you can use BirdRing on a device without a SIM card. However selecting a location on a map is kind of ‘blind’, as you don’t actually see the map, just your own position.

Of course you can send your observations once you have a Wi-Fi connection to the internet.

Tip: if you have another device (like an iPhone) that has mobile internet, usually you can setup a Wi-Fi hotspot that enables you to access the internet from your Android device that does not have a mobile internet connection itself.

I have an idea how you can improve BirdRing even further

I appreciate if you want to share your idea with me. If I think your idea is useful for more users, I shall put it on the idea list and may implement it in a future version of BirdRing. Many of the current features of BirdRing are the result of user feedback.

You can contact me through the email address that you can find at the BirdRing app in de Google Play Store, Twitter and Facebook.

In which language is BirdRing available?

The language BirdRing (and all other apps) uses depend on the language settings of your device. The BirdRing app is available in 10 languages:

  • English
  • Dutch
  • German (thanks to Christine Kowallik)
  • French (thanks to Alain Fossé)
  • Italian (thanks to Dimitri Marrone)
  • Spanish (thanks to Antonio Gutierrez, Carlos Gutiérrez and others)
  • Portuguese (thanks to Hugo Lousa)
  • Swedish (thanks to Niklas Liljebäck)
  • Finnish (thanks to Tuomo Jaakkonen)
  • Norwegian (thanks to Håvard Husebø)
  • Estonian (soon…)
  • Polish (soon…)

Additionally, the species list is available in 8 more languages:

  • Scientific
  • Polish
  • Danish
  • Estonian
  • Lithuanian
  • Russian
  • Czech
  • Slovak

If anyone wants to help translate other parts of the app, please contact me.