I Use eBird - Why Do I Need SWIFT?

eBird is the absolute best online tool for tracking your birding sightings, no question. Every single staff member here at SWIFT is an avid eBird user and has been for many years. But eBird can only give you so much information and some information it does provide takes a lot of digging around. Below are just some of the reasons why our users love SWIFT! Incidentally .. last time we checked, almost 90% of our users also regularly use eBird.

Your Birding Locations are Organized
SWIFT displays your locations in an easy-to-understand hierarchy, so your yard list is under your town, then county, then state, then country, etc.. This way recording a bird in one location affects everything above it and you can immediately see your counts for every geographical area.
Easily view all photos of a species
eBird also tracks your locations by geographical location. But to see what SWIFT displays on one screen you need to switch back and forth between multiple screens, never seeing the information together.
See Your Birding Trends
SWIFT displays comparison data for your locations in every way imaginable. Across years, same month across all years, all 'Lifer' birds and when/where they were recorded, and more.
Easily view all photos of a species
eBird has a LOT of info on trends, first/last seen dates, etc.. However, they are rolled up by region/hotspot and are for every birder who has contributed data. Want to see YOUR trends from year to year, across specific locations and how they compare to each other? Not possible.
Get Timely Alerts for Species in your Hotspots
SWIFT alerts you within 15 minutes of any interesting bird seen at one of your hotspots or within a short distance of them. You can customize the alert to only tell you about new 'Life' birds, or new to the location or even just new for the year. Also a great way to learn about other close by hotspots you may not know about when an alert comes in. Great way to find new places to bird.
Easily view all photos of a species
Subscribe to eBird alerts and once per day you will get birds with one criteria only (rare for location and/or time of year) for a large area such as a county. Hopefully you don't get the email at 8PM and have to wait until tomorrow to go try for that 'Lifer' bird!
Easily view all photos of a species
Keep Track of All of Your Photos for Every Species
Want to see all the photos you have ever taken of Prothonotary Warbler? With SWIFT it's easily done in a couple of clicks. Mark a photo as your favorite and it will appear throughout SWIFT. Add and delete photos or download free photos from the SWIFT photo library.
Easily view all photos of a species
With eBird, not so easy. In fact not really possible. You can search through all of your sightings where you recorded a Prothonotary Warbler and see them one-by-one. Course you could likely forget when you saw them and miss some photos. If you have that much time to search, you might as well go birding instead!
Add/Crop/Resize Your Photos in SWIFT
In SWIFT, simply select your original photo, SWIFT takes its own copy so no worries about the original. Crop, resize, flip, do whatever editing you need right inside SWIFT. No need for additional software.
Add, crop and resize photos right inside SWIFT
Ready to put that photo in eBird? Hold on .. is it the size you want? Is the file too large? Cropped correctly? Likely not. So first open your photo editing software, make a copy of the image off your camera, save it, then go back to eBird and copy it into your sighting.
All of Your Birding Notes/Comments Together
Do you regularly add comments to your sightings and/or to specific species you have recorded? Most birders do. In SWIFT, your notes appear alongside your sighting records, you can search all of your notes and also view all the notes for a location, entire year, etc.. together on one screen.
Add, crop and resize photos right inside SWIFT
eBird encourages users to put in notes when recording species, but then where do they go? They stay inside your individual checklists. Want to dig up the details of that time you saw a certain bird? Hope you remember the exact location and date or you'll spend ages looking for it. Their website just wasn't designed for looking up previously saved text data.
Share Your Birding Data
Throughout SWIFT you can quickly copy displayed information to your clipboard and/or export it to Excel, PDF, .. So you can quickly share individual sightings, summaries of a location, records for a month/year, anything you see in SWIFT. As an example; easily capture all data needed for a weekly bird report by simply exporting the information straight off the main screen in SWIFT.
Add, crop and resize photos right inside SWIFT
eBird also allows you to share your birding data. Any checklist you enter can be shared with others in your birding group. You can also download a CSV of very small information (one checklist) or very large information (your records for a county), but you cannot choose whatever location/timeframe you want.
SWIFT Can Help With Your 'Big Year'
Using quick alerts in SWIFT, filter the alerts down to "new birds for year" over any chosen geographical area from a county to a state or province. When a new bird for your Big Year is spotted, you will know within 15 minutes. No more scouring pages of alerts and horrible dated listservs, let SWIFT help!
Easily view all photos of a species
In theory you can rely on eBird state/province alerts but they are missing two critical features; they do not take into account the birds you have already seen, so the list you need to sort through is just as large in December as it was in January. Secondly, they show you EVERY bird that is deemed 'rare', a completely different list of birds than you need for your 'Big Year'.
Internet Connection Not Available
You may not always have internet available when viewing/changing your bird lists and sightings, especially when travelling. SWIFT works with or without an active internet connection. Add your birds anytime and sync them to eBird next time you have a connection.
No internet required
Internet connectivity required.
"I Have So Much Data in eBird, I Can't Start Over"
No need! You can quickly and easily import all of your eBird records into SWIFT. Or, if you want to move them over gradually SWIFT is the only birding software that has built-in synchronization with eBird. Easily bring up all of your locations and SWIFT will tell you which birds are in SWIFT and not eBird and vice-versa.
No internet required
eBird has no synchronization capabilities, but no worries, SWIFT has you covered!
No internet required
Your Records Are YOUR Records
When you save your sightings, notes and photos in SWIFT, you are saving them on your computer and/or your external drives. SWIFT's automatic backup of all of your sighting records and photos mean your records are safe and are there whenever you need them, forever.
No internet required
eBird has a long record of very strong security of all collected birding data. However, all of your data in eBird is on their servers, you have no control over where the data is stored or any recourse should any of it get lost due to malfunctions, hacks, etc. Recent hacks of large companies have reminded us that very little data in the cloud is truly safe. Keep a full copy of your years and years of birding data and your large collection of notes and photos safe and secure in SWIFT.
SWIFT's Best Features are Thanks to Our Users
SWIFT has a large and active User Group that anyone can join. We are constantly communicating with our User Group to get ideas for new features, run planned changes past them and prioritize bug fixes. Some of the greatest features in SWIFT are a direct result of input from our user community. If you contact us with an idea, we guarantee a personal response from our SWIFT team.
No internet required
eBird has a very large and passionate user community and for good reason. But have you ever tried to get an idea for a new feature acted on? eBird does not roll out many updates/changes as it's primary purpose (collecting birding data for scientific purposes) is being met by the current app.
Recording Sightings Out in the Field
Okay here we will definitely agree that eBird has SWIFT beat, mainly because we do not offer a mobile app. We do one thing and do it well. eBird already has the very best app for entering sightings while you are in the field so it makes no sense to create another. We highly recommend you use the eBird mobile app as our SWIFT team members do every day and then when home you can import the sightings into SWIFT in 2-3 clicks. That's the absolute fastest way to get your sighting records in eBird and in also in SWIFT.
eBird mobile app
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eBird, the eBird mobile app and the eBird logo are trademarks of Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Cornell University, Ithaca NY.
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