Sep 182009

When WildObs Observer for the iPhone and iPod Touch was conceived, the plan was to develop an offline capable application. Much of wildlife is to be seen where there is no wireless or cellphone connectivity and I wanted to support people getting away from it all, and getting into nature. Also, back then there were tens of species in the WildObs database, but not hundreds/thousands.

Since then the database has grown, the species list is far wider and more exotic, and downloading all the images was taking way too much device resources (especially for the casual observer.) So, here we have WildObs Observer 1.4 with some new settings:

  1. “Show Species Icons” shows you the thumbnail pictures when in the species pages. Turn this off to hide these images and significantly increase scrolling performance.
  2. “Download Images” enables downloading for all images for offline use. It defaults to be off, and when off only those images of species you’ve reported, or use regularly, or are known to be around you are downloaded. All other images are downloaded on demand over WiFi or 3G or phone network.
Version 1.4: Lightening the image load...

Version 1.4: Lightening the image load...

Mar 052009
Hummer Anticipation

Hummer Anticipation

Will you survey your wildlife species this year? Here is why I (and others) do on Please join us.

One of the many things I love about Colorado is how dramatic the seasons are. Glorious summers, beautiful autumns, white winters (normally) and budding/optimistic springs. Springs bring an abundance of life to Colorado after the relative peace of winter. Springs bring birds back from migration, bears back from hibernation, and plants to sustain them all. For me the anticipation of spring is palpable, I get increasingly excited as the days get warmer, and the species return.

I have watched and recorded the return of broad-tailed hummingbirds to Colorado for over a decade (how long I’ve been in this house, which is almost as long as I’ve been up these mountains) and I know to expect the first scout on April 15th (or April 14th more recently.) I clean out my feeders (and remind my local community to do the same via and present these red beacons to the sky by April 1st. I know I am listening for that sound, that buzzing hum, from then on.

Finally, a year ago, I decided I wanted to record my encounters (especially first-of-season encounters) shared on a public website. I didn’t find a website that let me pick the species, or let me pick what species I wanted to record and/or follow. In part this led to the creation of WildObs

With WildObs each individual gets to monitor and record the species that touch them, the ones they love or admire (like the wren, one of the better songbirds up here.) If the WildObs database does not contain the species you care for, add it & it will. What is different about WildObs is that these recording are shared but also collected as yours, you can

Record the species in your neighborhood (in your yard or on your feeder) but also record what you find at you parks, on your hikes. Your neighbors will thank you for bringing them an understanding of their wildlife neighbors.

Members of the Coal Creek Canyon community have started work on their regional wildlife species list. This survey has helped newcomers to the canyon learn what that big blue bird is, or how frequently bears get stuck in unlocked cars (so lock them!)

Doing a spring survey of your neighborhood, or while on your walks, is fun and records citizen science data for you and others to benefit from. Best of all? You will almost certainly get more in touch with your nature, and probably even learn from human wildlife lovers around you.

Survey your wildlife today.