About CloudBirders

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. We provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

Trip report data

The birding trip reports in the CloudBirders database originate from two main data sources.
The first source is our dedicated web crawler team, who have been actively searching the web for months at end, looking for every available trip report out there, and continue to do so to this date.
The second source of data is provided by uploads or suggestions made by visitors to the site.
Note that we do not use an automatic birding trip report finder program to automatically populate the database. We prefer to manually screen all data in order to ensure that the available trip reports meet certain minimum quality requirements and do not contain any obvious viruses or malware.

As you can imagine, adding the reports in this way is a big job, and although we try hard to stay up-to-date, we do need help from you, the world birder community, to notify us of new or undiscovered trip reports that haven't made it onto CloudBirders yet.
So if you have written a new trip report, or if you know of an existing birding trip report which isn't featured on CloudBirders yet, please do not wait for the trip report to magically appear on the site, because it may take a long time, or it may never happen.
We urge you to use the upload feature, or drop us an e-mail, or post a link on our Facebook page: we will take it from there, and eternal gratitude will be yours.

Uploading trip reports

CloudBirders stores birding trip report data in one of the following forms:

  1. As a link to an externally hosted birding trip report. This means that the trip report is stored elsewhere on the internet and CloudBirders just provides the link to it.
  2. Hosted directly as a PDF file on the CloudBirders website.

When you upload a trip report, you will have the choice between these options: you can either provide a URL to an externally hosted trip report, or you can upload a PDF directly. In case you opt for PDF upload, here are a few rules and guidelines regarding this process.

  1. You can only upload trip reports when you are logged in; it is not possible to upload anonymously.
  2. Please upload only trip reports which you have written yourself, or obtain approval from the author to upload the trip report to CloudBirders before doing so.
  3. We only accept trip reports in PDF format.
  4. Maximum size of a trip report is 10MB.

After you have uploaded a PDF, it may take a day or so before the trip report is reviewed and added to the site. Most of us have a day job too (and sometimes we're birding in a remote corner of the globe) so a slight delay is inevitable unfortunately. We screen for content (to make sure the trip report description matches the content, and to filter out spam or obviously commercial content) and viruses/threats (basic scan only).

Feedback

The trip reports database of CloudBirders is already pretty big, and we hope it will continue to grow over time.
With such a large data set, it is inevitable that some of the information will become stale. Specifically, some of the external links may stop working as websites are taken down or being reorganised. We do try to scan for dead links occasionally, but if you encounter a broken link, or indeed any other kind of error, please report it to us by clicking the little envelope left of the trip report title (only visible when you are logged in). This will open a little feedback box allowing you to report the problem to us in an easy fashion so we can fix it.
A second problem when dealing with vast amounts of data is that you may end up spending a lot of time going through it. In order to make it easier for you to find the most useful reports quickly, we have added a rating feature that allows you to attribute your personal score to every trip report. We would like to encourage you strongly to please rate the trip reports that you are using - when enough people cast their vote, the best reports will stand out, and this should speed up the process of finding exactly what you are looking for.

The people behind CloudBirders

Hans Wim

Hans Matheve has been birding since the age of eleven. First exploring the vicinity of his hometown Geel, later on he shifted his local patch to the Belgian coast in search for vagrants. At the moment he lives with his partner in the beautiful city of Ghent where he works at the Terrestrial Ecology unit of Ghent University. He has been travelling and birding all continents quite extensively and is an avid bird sound recorder. Elusive and skulking birds are his favorites. Hans takes care of the content and layout of CloudBirders.

Wim Heylen has been fascinated by birds from a very young age, but didn't turn into a serious birder until the late nineties. After a decade of rather intense world birding, he has now settled down in his hometown of Herenthout with his partner and two young children. Having a computer science background, he is working as a consultant in the telecommunications industry, and in his spare time, likes to combine birding and technology - with CloudBirders being the most recent culmination.

Wouter Courtens, Joachim Teunen, Peter Collaerts and Rob Gordijn make up the core of our web crawling team. We owe them many thanks for helping to build and maintain the extensive and still growing trip reports database.

Finally, to everybody who submits new reports, assigns scores or provides feedback in any way, consider yourself part of the team... thanks for your support and contribution to make the site better.

Security

CloudBirders uses internet security best practices to minimise the chances of a successful malicious attack against the site. By no means do we claim to be invulnerable to hackers, but we do our best to reduce the vulnerability of CloudBirders as much as possible. We also have weekly backups in place which should enable us to rebuild the site relatively quickly in case we do get hacked.

Privacy

CloudBirders will not share your personal information (e-mail, password) with any 3rd parties. We may occasionally send you an e-mail to inform you about important events related to CloudBirders. Your password is stored in an encrypted format and is not visible to us - if you forget your password, you will have to reset it since it cannot be recovered.

Copyright and Intellectual Property

Hosting

It is the policy of CloudBirders to only store external links to trip reports, unless they have been offered to us by (or with consent from) the author of the trip report, in which case we will host (a copy of) the trip report on CloudBirders as well. We will not rip content from websites and present it as our own, and we provide full visibility as to where the content that we provide access to is hosted.

Data sharing

When you upload a trip report, you will be asked to acknowledge that you agree with our policy of sharing your trip report and its metadata with other organisations for scientific research purposes, for conservation purposes, or for educational purposes, under the terms of the by-nc-nd Creative Commons license. If you disagree with this policy, you can opt not to tick the relevant checkbox.
For trip reports that have been uploaded to the site before we instated this policy, we have taken the liberty to assume that most people would agree with our policy, and would be happy to share their trip reports for a meaningful cause. If you would like to opt out of this policy for your trip reports nevertheless, don't hesitate to contact us and we will update our data accordingly.

Site funding and advertising

It is possible to advertise on the site. The main purpose for doing this is to cover our operating expenses, and to guarantee that we can afford premium bandwidth so the site remains fast for everybody to enjoy.