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  • I have a problem with using ornitho.ch, what should I do?
    Please first read the FAQs and check to see if you can find an answer here below. If not and if nobody else can help you, contact support@ornitho.ch. Sometimes you will need to be patient till we can send you an answer – we ask for your understanding!
     
  • Why do I need to register?
    People who want to use this site actively must register. You only have to do this once and it’s easy to do. This personal information helps us to contact those who use the website in order to guarantee the quality of the information. The information is protected from access by unauthorised persons. Your data will be treated confidentially according to the provisions of applicable data protection laws. Those who just want to see the latest observations, without taking advantage of any additional functionality do not need to register.
     
  • Why do you need my email address?
    It permits us to contact you if we need further information about your observation, or in order to give you timely technical support if this is required or to be able to send you important information.
     
  • I have forgotten my password and cannot log in any more. What should I do?
    You can ask ornitho.ch for a new password. You can find further information in the instructions, point 3: “Register – log in – forgotten your password?“
     
  • I have changed my email or postal address. Do I have to register again?
    No your registration remains valid. It only has to be updated. To do this log in with your old address (the one you originally registered with) and choose „My Data“ at the bottom of the left column. You will open a page where you can change your email address. You must click on „change“ to confirm the change. Your account is now up to date and you can henceforth only log in with your new email address. In the same way you can also change your postal address.
     
  • Why doesn’t ornitho.ch work with certain browsers?
    We have developed this website to be used by a maximum number of users. Because of this we are aware that some older versions of browsers will experience certain problems. If you discover a problem we would be grateful if you would advise what does not work as accurately as possible to support@ornitho.ch; we will try to help you. The site has been tested with the Windows version of Internet Explorer 5.5 and later. Mozilla Firefox runs on all Platforms.
     
  • What are the cookies used for?
    Cookies are tiny text elements which are stored on your computer and allow ornitho.ch to identify you. They are used to store your email address and your password if you choose the option to store your password. They are also necessary to identify you from page to page and in order to make you personalised suggestions for example about the sites which you visit. If ornitho.ch was not permitted to do this then the site would not be able to operate properly.

  • When can I begin to report my observations to ornitho.ch?
    You can begin when you want to. Simply register and a few minutes later you can log in and begin. If you wish you can report your historic observations, even if these go back several years. Please do not include any observations which you have already reported to the Ornithological Centre of French Switzerland (COR) or the ID service of the Swiss Ornithological Insitute.
     
  • Do I need to be connected to the internet to transmit my observations?
    Yes. ornitho.ch only works if you are connected to the internet. This website was developed, to transmit observations continuously and to make them visible to others. Thanks to the internet we have unrivalled possibilities to receive observations from different observers without having to collect them. We limit ourselves to monitoring without great effort – this we leave to technology. You can find further information in the instructions- point 3: „Register – automatic transmission“.

  • Why should I report my observations?
    If you report your observations you have on the one hand an overview of these observations over the whole year. On the other hand you are helping, under the auspices of the Swiss Vogelwarte und the Ornithological Centre of French Switzerland (COR), to protect Swiss breeding and migratory birds. This is specially the case when you register as a member of the Swiss Ornithological Insitute and report your observations according to the prescribed criteria. Thereby you facilitate the direct interaction with other enthusiastic ornithologists.
     
  • I have historic observations on my PC. Can I import these into ornitho.ch?
    No, at the moment it is not possible to do this. Except if they are observations stored in IDEXT by observers of the Swiss Ornithological Insitute. These observations from 1.1.2000 will be integrated into ornitho.ch. For further information see in the instructions, point 3: “How to register yourself for automatic data transfer“.
     
  • I see plenty of birds. Do I have to report them all?
    We ask all registered Swiss Ornithological Insitute members to send reports strictly according to the traditional reporting system in the chosen method. Only with this standardised method of reporting are the observations of real value and can be used for numerous analyses. All other observers can report what seems interesting or notable. The red, yellow and blue spots in front of the species name (see Explanation of symbols) give you an indication. We advise you as much as possible to use the daily report function.

  • I am not very good at bird identification. In spite of this can I report birds that I don’t know very well?
    Yes, you can restrict yourself to species that you know well. If you have doubts please contact obs@ornitho.ch first, especially if you are able to take photos.

  • I am uncertain of an observation. Should I report it anyway?
    No, because we only want to receive well-founded reports. If there is any doubt, first make contact with obs@ornitho.ch, especially if you are able to take photos.
     
  • I don’t count birds. In spite of this can I send reports?
    Yes. Choose option „not counted“. In spite of this we recommend you to begin to make a count or at least to estimate the number. If you only know that a species has been seen at a particular place, this is certainly important information about its distribution but not about its abundance.
     
  • What do I do when I see a species that is not on the list?
    If a species is not on the list this means that it has not been observed in Switzerland. In this case send an email to support@ornitho.ch. If it is an escape from captivity, a short description and photos would be very useful. If it is a wild bird then a complete observation record should of course be sent to the Swiss Rarities Committee (SRC).
     
  • How can I register a new locality name?
    New locality names can only be created by the administrator. If you have important additions or corrections of place names please contact support@ornitho.ch. Please mention X-coordinates, Y-coordinates and your proposed descriptive name.

  • How can I prevent that an observation is seen by everybody?
    ornitho.ch has built in two safety steps which should ensure that observations of vulnerable bird species, especially breeding birds do not become public knowledge. Firstly observations of a number of vulnerable species are automatically protected. Secondly you have the possibility as reporter to protect the report by selecting the “protected observation” field. The observation is then only visible to you and the administrator.
     
  • Can I correct a report?
    Yes mistakes can be corrected up to a week after input. Mistakes discovered later must be reported to support@ornitho.ch, because the data has already been transferred to the database and they have to be corrected there.
     
  • How to add a species forgotten in daily forms?
    This function is accessible for each form by clicking on the last button on the right of the two wastebasket buttons, below the permalink. A new window appears in which the missing species can be added from a list where only the species that are not already in the form are listed.

  • The symbols for „change“ or „delete“ appear alongside my reports. Why is this?
    This is deliberate and the same for everybody. Only you (and the administrator) should change or delete your observations. You wouldn’t want anybody else to be able to manipulate your data …
     
  • How can I input information about age and sex of a reported bird?
    We request you to record the age of observed birds in calendar years. Thus a bird hatched in 2011 is until 31.12.2011 in its first calendar year (1KY) and from 1.1.2012 in its second calendar year (2KY) etc. If it is not possible to determine the age exactly please use „ad“ (=adult) for birds in adult plumage and “immat” (=immature) for birds which are no longer in juvenile plumage but are not yet adult. We describe nestlings as „pull“. If females and immature birds are similar, these should described as „female type“ The combination sex „unknown“ and age „unknown“ is not possible.
     
  • What are the user requirements for database queries?
    Everybody who is a regular contributor has the right to query the database. However from the point of view of capacity we can only offer full access to the database to more or less regular observers who since their registration have transmitted at least 3-4 observations per month to ornitho.ch. Others can see observations of the last 15 days as well as unrestricted access to their own observations. In order not to overload the site too much we request all users to limit their queries at peak times (between 9PM and 9AM).
     
  • I cannot upload photos. What should I do?
    Some conditions have to be met. First of all, your photo must be in jpg format (*. jpg). It’s the only format that can be uploaded. Furthermore, the pictures must not exceed certain dimensions. The maximal dimension for picture related with observation of yours is 675 x 450 pixels (maximal size 1 MB). For your personal photo on your personal page, the maximal dimension  is 120 x180 pixels (maximal size 1 MB).
     
  • What do the dots mean on the distribution maps, e.g. under "Data and analyses"?
    These points represent data in a summarized yet informative way that can be loaded quickly. These are based on the observations submitted on ornitho.ch by its users. Each point is the sum of all individuals reported in the corresponding kilometer square area during the period considered. The observations posted with accuracy are directly summed up for the site to which they are attributed. This means that when one bird is reported by 100 persons during the period considered, the point will be set to 100 (the larger the sum, the larger the dot). If an observer observes 10 individuals of one species and somebody else 15 individuals in the very same place, the point value will be set to 25. For submitted data where the number of individuals is unknown (option "not counted"), the point value is arbitrarily set to 1 (which is most of the time underestimated). When only negative data are reported for one location (number = 0), the point is displayed with a crossed circle on the map. This representation is probably not perfect, especially for rare birds remaining in the same place for a long time and reported by many people, but this is the best compromise between a realistic representation and a short loading time, which is also indicated in the upper left corner of the map. The total number of data displayed on the map (n) is also displayed there.
  • Uploading sound recordings does not work. What am I doing wrong?
    Recordings must be in mp3 format and must not exceed a size of 1 MB. If uploading does not work despite meeting these requirements, so presumably there is a codec-protection. To be able to upload the recording in ornitho, it must be re-converted to mp3. This can be done in three steps online under www.online-audio-converter.com
     
 
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