Friday, December 25

Introducing and the new BirdTrax

This will be the last post on this website! Check out Eventually all the content from this website will be migrated to

BirdTrax will disappear on January 25, 2016 due to Google taking down the hosting platform. I've found a way to get around this and have provided information here. However, I cannot update the BirdTrax gadget anymore due to Google's limitations imposed on the hosting platform--so if this is a surprise for you, my apologies. Please consider upgrading to accubirder gadgets, as these will provide you with a stable, versioned, long-term solution.

Saturday, December 19

Beta Testing Accubirder Rarities

At the top of this page you're seeing one of the next-generation birding gadgets. I've just drafted the accubirder framework, built from ground-up to enable the most dynamic birding gadgets possible. Accubirder depends exclusively on javascript and eBird, nothing else. This means it can be a very long-term, robust solution for many users and many websites.

Greatest advantages of Accubirder vs. BirdTrax:
  • Completely cross-browser compatible
  • List of individual rare birds, not individual reports.
  • Hosting site and development interface is owned by developer, not dependent on Google.
  • Not reliant on gmodules for parsing
  • Not reliant on the Google Gadgets interface for specifications of user settings
  • Highly customizable output simply by specifying JS object parameters
  • Faster processing speeds
  • Webmasters have access to the gadget code and the JSON data
Beta testing starts now! This is still a work in progress, but your input will shape the finishing touches. Please leave comments or contact me at User-friendly tools for automatic code generation will arrive when everything is all ready to roll, but for now you can use the code below.

Here's all it takes to power the gadget above:

<script src=""></script>
<script type="text/javascript">
  raritiesGadget({country:"US",state:"CA",county:"San Diego"});

You may notice that accubirderRarities() within returns a JS object, and we are accessing the .html value. Importantly, parameters are passed in through an object. There are about 20 parameters you can define, and for now I'll just give you an example of a fully-specified request. Leaving out parameters will either return them to default values or simply leave them undefined.
   species:"Bicknell's Thrush",

Important: I am still working on developing error reports. If you're having repeated trouble, please send me your code!

Friday, October 16

Free Code! Display eBird API data on your website!

Since BirdTrax is not a hard-code solution, I've copied some of my "practice code" into JSFiddle to make data display on your website easier.  Here are three files so far, and I'll post as I make more:

Basic Sightings
This code very simply shows how to embed eBird data in your website in raw form.

Basic Sightings (more gourmet)
This code elaborates on Basic Sightings to create a more user-friendly output by doing a little bit of data processing.

Basic Rarities
This code does basically the same thing, just for a rarities API with a little more detail

Hope this helps!

Monday, September 7

Discontinuing BirdTrax Maintenance

Hello to the BirdTrax community,

I thought it would be about time to officially announce that I am discontinuing BirdTrax maintenance. BirdTrax will be going down on January 25, 2015. It's been a great gadget for tens of thousands of users for three years now, but an upgrade is on its way. Google keeps evolving and changing, and with it gadgets seem to be heading more and more towards the trash can. The gadget has been getting some rough edges, and it will be staying this way. I'm still happy to take a look at your codes and suggest fixes, but I won't be developing or maintaining further.

Good birding!
Zach DeBruine

Thursday, December 4

BirdTrax Update: What's Happening to the Checklist Tab?

eBird now offers an elegant interface for perusing recent checklists submitted in any county or state. If you haven't already, bookmark eBird's Region Explorer. It provides you with fast and easy access to a wealth of information.

BirdTrax requests information from eBird databases every time you load your gadget. An ever-growing community of BirdTrax users worldwide is beginning to make data requests overwhelming, thus it's time to direct your checklists tabs directly to eBird.

Important Note: If your gadget opens up in the checklist tab by default, you need to change that. If you are operating a personal gadget on Google Sites, for example, open up the preferences tab and change the default view setting. If you have embedded BirdTrax on your website, go back to the BirdTrax embed code generator and enter all the same information as before (only checklists is no longer an option for default view).

We appreciate your understanding and are grateful together with team eBird for your support and use of this wonderful dataset. We hope that you continue to enjoy the wide variety of data exploration tools available. More are on the way!! Just after New Years we'll put up a teaser here on the website for a new tool on track for release before Spring migration.

Wednesday, August 6

Find those eBird Personal Locations that should be merged with Hotspots!!

eBird should totally, totally develop a tool that allows users to detect whether their personal locations are very near hotspots (or should be merged with the hotspot). Maybe they are working on that, but in the meantime here's a little app to help you clean up your locations and get your name on more Hotspot Explorer pages :)

Hotspot Alignment Tool

To use this program, download your eBird data (the link is in the My eBird page on the right toolbar), then upload that file directly to the page.

This is just a primitive idea of what a tool like this really ought to do, but I just wanted to share this little functionality with the eBirders out there in case it can be useful.

Saturday, May 24

Added Language Support for BirdTrax

Species names in BirdTrax can now be viewed in French and Spanish in addition to English! This was in high demand for a long time, so I anticipate much excitement. I hope this new possibility will provide impetus for further growth in eBird participation worldwide. When embedding BirdTrax, simply select from a choice of languages (option beneath country drop-down box). If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at
The new "Espanol (MX)" eBird Gadget!

Embed a BirdTrax Gadget on your website by clicking here or add it to your Google Site.

On a side note, I could use some help translating the basic text of BirdTrax into Spanish. I have received French and Portuguese assistance, but would greatly appreciate an email with the translations of non-species text used in the gadget from users who are fluent/comfortable in Spanish. I will keep this request updated once I obtain the information I need to proceed.

Monday, October 21

Google Sites: The Best Way to View BirdTrax Gadgets

My favorite way to view a collage of personal BirdTrax gadgets is using Google Sites.

To begin, go to:

  1. Create a new site. Simply click "create". You can fiddle around with style all you like, but I just selected "blank template". Once you finish up on that page, you should have a new website.
  2. Edit your page. Click on the pencil in the upper right area of the page.
  3. Add a BirdTrax gadget. In the upper left menu bar, hover over "insert" and then click on "more gadgets...". Click on "add gadget by URL" and enter the following URL:

  4. Customize your gadget. Type in your settings as you so desire, and when you click OK, you'll have inserted your first BirdTrax gadget into the site.
The rest of the features are fairly self-explanatory. You can change your privacy settings -- by default the site is public.

Here's a sample site for you to check out:

BirdTrax Demo Dashboard

Friday, June 14

eBird Checklist Map

Yesterday I threw some code together that generates a map of all eBird checklists submitted in my area.

I haven't had time to perfect the idea yet, and I may add a few more features. In the meantime, here's how you can do this too:

Wednesday, April 24

Map your eBird History!

Here's an awesome new map of personal eBird checklist submissions over time from Brian Sullivan:

Thanks to Jared Fischer for the idea and development work!

Here's how to do this: