Frequently Asked Questions

General
Help Videos
What is BirdGuides.com?
How do subscriptions work?
How do these two new subscriptions differ from those previously offered by BirdGuides (pre-July 2017)?
Are there any additional fees?
What is Bird News Ultimate Lite?
How does the free sightings service compare against the service offered to subscribers?
How does the free trial work?
How do I change my account and subscription?

Transitional Issues
I paid for a subscription before July 2017. Why does it say I'm on a free trial?
I have an existing BirdGuides subscription. Why does the My Subscriptions page say I don't have a subscription?

Website
Why can I only see species and county on the list of sightings?
Can I view species names on the BirdMap?
Where is the "nearby" page?
How do I change my Filters/Alerts?
How do I filter on more than one county?
Can I filter by "region" (East Anglia, South-east England, etc.)?
Can I apply a filter to the list of sightings automatically?
Can I sort the list of sightings by species/county/site/rarity?
Can I hide the Search panel/Map at the top of the list of sightings?
How can I tell whether or not I'm logged in?
I'm getting a message saying "OOPS!" – what do I need to do?
Where are the Photo of the Week and Notable photos?

Email Alerts
Can I have my Email Alerts delivered to a different address?
Why have my Email Alerts stopped arriving?
How do I check/alter my Email Alert settings?
What's the difference between an "Alert" and a "Trigger"?
Can I filter by "region" (East Anglia, South-east England, etc.)?
How do I ask for Email Alerts from more than one county?

Text Alerts
How do I check/alter my Text Alert settings?
Why have my Text Alerts stopped arriving?
What's the difference between an "Alert" and a "Trigger"?
Can I filter by "region" (East Anglia, South-east England, etc.)?
How do I ask for Text Alerts from more than one county?
Can I switch my Text Alerts on and off by sending a text?

Apps
Why isn't my app working?
Why am I only seeing the species and county in the app?
Can I get push notifications to my Android phone?
How do I set my push notifications and app filters?
When I click or swipe on a push notification, why don't I see that particular report?
Why can't I see the gallery in the new app?
Can I still use the old Bird News Anywhere "WAP" service?
How do I log in on my iPhone 4?
Will my iTunes auto-renewal still work?

Further Queries
Have a query relating to your renewal or subscription?
Have a question relating to a sighting?
Have a technical question?

General

Help Videos

Click here to see help videos.

What is BirdGuides.com?

BirdGuides.com is a predominantly paid-content service that reports details of interesting bird sightings, publishes daily news and other articles on all aspects of birding, conservation and the environment, features detailed information on avian taxonomy and stores historical records of all British and Irish rarities. Other site features include a photographic resource of almost 400,000 user-submitted images representing about half the world's 10,600 bird species, and an online user listing module.

Since July 2017 BirdGuides.com has also been the online home of Birdwatch, the UK’s leading monthly magazine for keen birders. The website includes some content delivered by Birdwatch, including news, expert advice, bird identification and travel features, taxonomic information and other material.

BirdGuides’ commitment to subscribers is to provide instant, comprehensive and dependable sightings that are verified by a team of dedicated experts. We take pride in using up-to-the-minute technology to deliver all our services, and our state-of-the-art Species Guide is regularly updated to accurately reflect the IOC and Clements avian taxonomies.

How do subscriptions work?

BirdGuides offers two simple subscriptions packages, Bird News Pro and Bird News Ultimate, that provide a range of paid content services for subscribers.

Bird News Pro, our popular subscription package, offers the following benefits:

  • Access to detailed sightings via our online bird news service and Apple/Android apps
  • A fully interactive and scalable BirdMap
  • Online listing – keep your world bird list and one other list
  • Access to our British & Irish Records Archive of all accepted rarity records (more than 32,000)

Try Bird News Pro for one month as a FREE TRIAL (click here), or subscribe quarterly by direct debit or annually by direct debit/cheque/credit card.

Bird News Ultimate is our premium subscription package that delivers all the same benefits as Bird News Pro plus:

  • Keep unlimited lists online
  • Receive email and text* alerts for the widest choice of receiving rapid bird news the way you want it (*text messaging charges apply)
  • Free Birdwatch magazine subscription worth over £50 (UK subscribers only)

For a full list of services offered click here.

Subscribe quarterly by direct debit or annually by direct debit/cheque/credit card.

Click here for our latest subscriptions offers

How do these two new subscriptions differ from those previously offered by BirdGuides (pre-July 2017)?

Users used to pay for different subscription levels to access a combination of individual services – Bird News Extra, Email Alert, Bird Text Alert, Bird News Anywhere (apps and WAP).

We have now simplified our subscriptions to offer a simple, two-tier subscription. All subscriptions can now be purchased and managed through our website, and apps now form part of the subscription. 

The options are to subscribe to Bird News Pro for limited access to a selection of services, or subscribe to Bird News Ultimate for full access to our entire range of services and content. Not only does this present excellent value for money, it also this means you also get more for your money.

Are there any additional fees?

Only for text alert credits. We provide all Ultimate subscribers with an initial 100 text credits for text alerts and each year 100 credits will be added to the account upon renewal. If you run out of credits, additional credits can be purchased for £10 (per 100) here.

If you pay quarterly and cancel your subscription, please note that any unused credits cannot be refunded.

What is Bird News Ultimate Lite?

The Bird News Ultimate Lite subscription is only valid for customers who subscribed before 20/07/2017 and will expire upon renewal. The Ultimate Lite package excludes the Birdwatch subscription and upon renewal, you will choose between a Bird News Pro or Bird News Ultimate subscription.

How does the free sightings service compare against the service offered to subscribers?

Non-subscribers will only be able to view basic information on sightings – date/time, location (county) and species.

Subscribers will get access to:

  • Full details of every bird – exact location, BirdMap and all history and previous reports for the bird and its associated site. This will give you a much clearer picture of the likelihood of the bird still being present when you get to the site.
  • Bird News Ultimate subscribers also have access to the British & Irish Rarities Archive, where you can look up all historic records of rare species. You can search for accepted sightings in any county or at any locality, and view graphs, charts and maps to show which months, years and counties have produced the most sightings of any rarity.

How does the free trial work?

Free trials of our Bird News Pro service are available to new customers who wish to try before they commit to a subscription.

Once you input a valid email address and mobile number, you will be sent a verification message to confirm your free trial. When your account has been verified you will have access to the Bird News Pro service for one month. Throughout that time, you will be reminded on the website as to how many days you have left remaining of your subscription. Free trials are available to new customers only.

How do I change my account and subscription?

To make any changes to your contact details, mobile number or email address, or to renew or cancel your subscription, click here.

You can also cancel your direct debit directly with your bank or building society, or by contacting the BirdGuides Subscription Department on 01778 392027 (or email subscriptions@warnersgroup.co.uk).

If you have forgotten your details or wish to reset your password, click here.

Transitional Issues

I paid for a subscription before July 2017. Why does it say I'm on a free trial?

All existing subscriptions will be honoured in full, and all paid-up subscribers will be transferred to an equivalent or better subscription on or before 31st August. In order to ensure continued access to bird news in the meantime, we have given all subscribers free access to our full Bird News Ultimate Lite package (all services except the free Birdwatch subscription).

While this is in place, you will see an orange "free trial" banner at the top of the page, and the My Subscriptions page will say "We could not find any subscriptions associated with your account, please contact us for assistance if this is incorrect." There is no need to contact us: once your subscription has been transferred, the banner will disappear and your subscription will be shown correctly.

I have an existing BirdGuides subscription. Why does the My Subscriptions page say I don't have a subscription?

See above.

Website

Why can I only see species and county on the list of sightings?

This is the default view for non-subscribers, and for subscribers who are not logged in. If you have a Pro or Ultimate subscription, log in to see the site and details of the sighting, and click the "View Sighting" button for additional records, site details, photos of the bird, etc.

Can I view species names on the BirdMap?

Yes. Early versions of the new BirdMap showed the site name rather than the species when you hovered over a pin on the map. This has now been altered, but your browser may still have the earlier code in its cache.

  • To refresh the cache in a Windows browser, navigate to the BirdMap page and press Ctrl+F5.
  • To refresh the cache in a Mac browser, navigate to the BirdMap page and press Apple+R or Command+R.
  • To refresh the cache on a mobile browser, consult the documentation for your browser of choice. If possible, clear the cache only for the birdguides.com domain.

For example, in the Safari browser (iPad and iPhone):

  1. Tap on "Settings".
  2. Tap on "Safari" in the left-hand pane.
  3. Scroll down the right-hand pane and click "Advanced".
  4. Click "Website Data".
  5. You will see a list of websites with stored data. Click "Edit" (top right).
  6. Find "birdguides.com" and tap the red minus sign. Tap the "Delete" button that appears.

Where is the "nearby" page?

There is currently no exact equivalent to the "Nearby" page on the old site. We felt that the availability of the zoomable BirdMap and the ability to filter your sightings meant that it was no longer needed. Following customer feedback, we may review this decision.

The BirdGuides apps for iOS and Android both include a "Nearby" tab that detects where you are using your phone's GPS and provides a list of recent sightings in the vicinity.

How do I change my Filters/Alerts?

Click "Welcome <your name>" in the top right-hand corner of the page, and select "Manage My Filters" or "Manage My Alerts".

How do I filter on more than one county?

  1. Go to Manage My Filters.
  2. Click "Add New Rarity Filter" and select "All Reports" or "First Reports" as required in the first column, and a minimum rarity level in the second ("Local", "Rare", etc.)
  3. Start typing the name of the first county you're interested in in the third column and when the county you want appears, click on it.
  4. Click "Add New Rarity Filter" again and repeat steps 2 and 3 for each county you're interested in.
  5. Click "Save Filters" at the bottom of the page.

Can I filter by "region" (East Anglia, South-east England, etc.)?

Not any more – we needed to introduce a more generic system of locations and sublocations that works internationally, and our rather arbitrary and wholly unofficial "regions" no longer fit the bill. However, you can filter on as many counties as you like, and you can filter by country (England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland).

Can I apply a filter to the list of sightings automatically?

Yes, if you subscribe to Bird News Pro or Bird News Ultimate.

  1. Set up your filter at Manage My Filters.
  2. Go to Update My Preferences, and tick the box that says "Only Use My Filters For Sightings". You can also choose to hide the map on the sightings page, if you wish.
  3. Click the "Update Preferences" button.
  4. View the Latest Sightings page. Your filter will be applied automatically.

To revert to the normal, unfiltered view, go back to Update My Preferences and change the settings as necesssary.

Can I sort the list of sightings by species/county/site/rarity?

Yes (on the desktop version of the website, though not yet on the mobile version): click on the arrows by the relevant column heading (click again to reverse the order of the search). Equivalent functionality for the mobile version is under consideration.

At present you will need to do this every time you visit the page, but we intend to allow you to set your preferred sort order as a User Preference.

You can also search for particular species and counties/countries ("Sublocations") on the Sightings page using the Search panel, and search by site or filter by minimum rarity using Advanced Search.

You can also set a Filter and apply it automatically. See "Can I apply a filter to the list of sightings automatically?"

Can I hide the Search panel/Map at the top of the list of sightings?

Yes, if you're a subscriber. Set up a Filter at Manage My Filters, then go to Update My Preferences and tick "Only Use My Filters For Sightings" and/or "Hide Map On Sightings Page" as required.

How can I tell whether or not I'm logged in?

If you see a link reading "Welcome <your name>" at the top right, you've logged in successfully. Click the link for a menu of useful links relating to your registration.

I'm getting a message saying "OOPS!" – what do I need to do?

This probably means you're using a bookmark (or other link) that points to a page on the old site that is in a different location on the new site. Find the equivalent page on the new site and update (or delete and recreate) your bookmark. Key pages will be automatically redirected, but many links from old issues of our weekly newsletter (to previous articles, etc.) will point to pages that don't exist on the new site. Almost all articles have been imported and are available from the News or Articles pages.

If you see this message when you click on a link on the new site, please let us know by email (ideally quoting both the page with the broken link, and the intended destination) and we'll fix it if possible.

Where are the Photo of the Week and Notable photos?

They are accessible from Galleries > All Galleries, or go direct to POTW or Notables.

Email Alert

Can I have my Email Alerts delivered to a different address?

At present, no – you can only have your alerts delivered to one address, which must be your registered address. If you need to change this address, please email contact@birdguides.com using the subject line "Change email address" and quoting both your old and new email addresses.

You will probably find you can create a "message filter" in your email client or webmail system to detect emails sent from donotreply@birdguides.com with a subject beginning "BirdGuides Sighting:". These can then be redirected to an alternative email address or moved to a separate folder to avoid cluttering your inbox.

Why have my Email Alerts stopped arriving?

The Email Alert service is generally highly reliable and few reported problems turn out to be down to the service itself. There are a number of possible reasons why some or all of our emails don't arrive:

  • You have not yet reset your password so that we can validate your email address and transfer your registration: see Notice for Existing Subscribers.
  • You have not set up your Email Alert triggers: if you have just transferred from the old site, you need to check your Email Alert settings on the new site and you may need to set them up again, at Manage My Alerts.
  • Some or all of your Email Alerts are disabled: to check whether your Email Alerts are switched on, go to Manage My Alerts – Email Alerts are identified by an at (@) symbol. If it says "Disabled" below the name of an Alert, then you won't get any emails from that Alert: click the Edit button for that Alert, and tick the Enabled box, then click Save Alert at the bottom of the page.
  • Your Email Alert subscription has expired: your expiry date is shown at My Subscriptions.
  • There have been no reports matching your criteria: if you select unproductive counties or only extreme rarities when setting up Email Alert, there may be periods when no emails are sent to your address. If you untick the Untwitchable box, you won't receive reports of (e.g.) fly-by seabirds. If you ask for First Reports, you won't be sent reports that refer to previously reported birds.
  • The sighting was reported on a day when your Email Alerts are switched off. Check your settings by clicking the relevant Edit button at Manage My Alerts.
  • Your emails are being sent to the wrong email address: check the Update My Profile page to ensure that your emails are being directed to the address you intend.
  • There is a problem with your email address: there may be problems at your ISP, or your mailbox may be full; try sending an email to your own address to make sure it's working.
  • Your ISP may be blocking our emails: some ISPs may incorrectly identify Email Alert emails as "spam". Check your "Trash", "Junk Mail" or "Spam" folder and if possible set up your spam filter to allow emails from the address donotreply@birdguides.com. Occasionally, certain words used innocently in the context of bird reports (use your imagination!) may trigger "profanity filters" that are intended to block unsolicited emails containing potentially offensive language.

If none of the above suggestions identifies the problem, email contact@birdguides.com quoting your registered email address and, if possible, details of the last message(s) you received.

How do I check/alter my Email Alert settings?

Log in, then click on "Welcome <your name>" at the top right of the screen. Select "Manage My Alerts".

What's the difference between an "Alert" and a "Trigger"?

A Trigger is a single one-line rule that identifies a set of records you might want to hear about: "First records of Rare and rarer species in Norfolk", "All sightings of Squacco Heron in Britain & Ireland", etc. An Alert is a set of one or more Triggers grouped under a single name (which you can choose for yourself). Each named Alert can run on its own schedule, and can be enabled or disabled individually.

This gives you greater flexibility than on the old website where, in effect, you only had a single Alert with a single schedule and a single on/off switch. With the new system you can define multiple Alerts with their own schedules, and switch them on and off independently at will. For example, you might set up one Alert for your local counties (called "Local Alerts", perhaps) that you have enabled all the time, and a separate Alert for a county or counties elsewhere that you visit regularly ("East Anglia", say) that you enable only when you're away; or a minimal set of Triggers in an Alert called "Weekdays", with an appropriate Monday–Friday schedule, and a more inclusive set of Triggers in your "Weekend" Alert set for Saturday and Sunday, when you are more able and likely to travel.

To create a new Alert, go to Manage My Alerts and click "Create New Email Alert" or "Create New Text Alert" as appropriate.

To add or remove Triggers from an existing Alert, go to Manage My Alerts and click the Edit button next to the Alert you want to change. To add multiple counties or countries, click "Add New Rarity Filter" as often as you need.

To rename an Alert, click "Edit" next to the Alert and type the new name in the Name box.

To enable/disable an Alert, click "Edit" next to the Alert and tick or untick the "Enabled" box next to the Alert name.

To delete an Alert, click "Edit" next to the Alert and then click "Remove" next to the Alert name. You will be required to confirm the removal of the Alert, which cannot be undone once confirmed.

Can I filter by "region" (East Anglia, South-east England, etc.)?

Not any more – we needed to introduce a more generic system of locations and sublocations that works internationally, and our rather arbitrary and wholly unofficial "regions" no longer fit the bill. However, you can filter on as many counties as you like, and you can filter by country (England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Northern Ireland).

How do I ask for Email Alerts from more than one county?

  1. Go to Manage My Alerts.
  2. Click the "Edit" button next to the Email Alert you want to change.
  3. Click "Add New Rarity Trigger" and select "All Reports" or "First Reports" as required in the first column, and a minimum rarity level in the second ("Local", "Rare", etc.)
  4. Start typing the name of the first county you're interested in in the third column and when the county you want appears, click on it.
  5. Click "Add New Rarity Trigger" again and repeat steps 3 and 4 for each county you're interested in.
  6. Click "Save Alert" at the bottom of the page.

Text Alert

How do I check/alter my Text Alert settings?

Log in, then click on "Welcome <your name>" at the top right of the screen. Select "Manage My Alerts".

Why have my Text Alerts stopped arriving?

The Text Alert service is generally highly reliable and few reported problems turn out to be down to the service itself. There are a number of possible reasons why you might not get text messages you were expecting:

  • You have not yet reset your password so that we can transfer your registration: see Notice for Existing Subscribers.
  • You have not yet verified your phone number on the new site: see Update My Profile.
  • You have not set up your Text Alert triggers: if you have just transferred from the old site, you need to check your Text Alert settings on the new site and you may need to set them up again, at Manage My Alerts.
  • Some or all of your Text Alerts are disabled: to check whether your Text Alerts are switched on, go to Manage My Alerts – Text Alerts are identified by a phone symbol. If it says "Disabled" below the name of an Alert, then you won't get any texts from that Alert: click the Edit button for that Alert, and tick the Enabled box, then click Save Alert at the bottom of the page.
  • The sighting was reported on a day or at a time when your Text Alerts are switched off. Check the schedule you've set up by clicking the relevant Edit button at Manage My Alerts.
  • Your Text Alert subscription has expired: your expiry date is shown at My Subscriptions.
  • You have no text credits remaining: check your balance at SMS Text Balance.
  • There have been no reports matching your criteria: if you select unproductive counties or only extreme rarities when setting up Text Alert, there may be periods when no texts are sent to your phone. If you untick the Untwitchable box, you won't receive reports of (e.g.) fly-by seabirds. If you ask for First Reports, you won't be sent reports that refer to previously reported birds.
  • Your texts are being sent to the wrong number: check the Update My Profile page to ensure that your texts are being directed to the number you intend.
  • There is a problem with your number: there may be temporary or permanent problems at your phone provider, or you may be out of signal range, or (particularly on older phones) the memory may be full, preventing receipt of new messages.

If none of the above suggestions identifies the problem, email contact@birdguides.com quoting your registered email address, mobile number and, if possible, details of the last text message(s) you received.

What's the difference between an "Alert" and a "Trigger"?

See under Email Alert, above.

Can I filter by "region" (East Anglia, South-east England, etc.)?

Not any more – we needed to introduce a more generic system of locations and sublocations that works internationally, and our rather arbitrary and wholly unofficial "regions" no longer fit the bill. However, you can filter on as many counties as you like, and you can filter by country (England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Northern Ireland).

How do I ask for Text Alerts from more than one county?

  1. Go to Manage My Alerts.
  2. Click the "Edit" button next to the Text Alert you want to change.
  3. Click "Add New Rarity Trigger" and select "All Reports" or "First Reports" as required in the first column, and a minimum rarity level in the second ("Local", "Rare", etc.)
  4. Start typing the name of the first county you're interested in in the third column and when the county you want appears, click on it.
  5. Click "Add New Rarity Trigger" again and repeat steps 3 and 4 for each county you're interested in.
  6. Click "Save Alert" at the bottom of the page.

Can I switch my Text Alerts on and off by sending a text?

Yes. Texting BIRDS OFF to 07786 200505 will disable all your Alerts, and texting BIRDS ON to the same number will enable all your Text Alerts (and change their schedule to permanently active). Each time you do this you will be charged one text credit for the acknowledgement you receive.

You can adjust your settings online as often as you like, without losing credits, at Manage My Alerts. Please note that Triggers (your individual criteria for counties, species, etc.) cannot be changed, added or removed by sending texts, and can only be altered via the website. The only available text commands are BIRDS ON, BIRDS OFF and BIRDS RPT <your sighting>.

Apps

Why isn't my app working?

The old (green icon) apps no longer work, will no longer be supported and should be uninstalled.

The new iOS app is available here, and the new Android app is available here. The new apps have white icons.

Several issues with early versions of these apps have been fixed in subsequent releases. Please ensure you have updated the app to the latest version.

If you have problems with either app, try the following (in order):

  • log out of the app, and then log in again
  • force-close the (click links for instructions for Apple iOS or Android), or the same effect can be achieved by the more brute-force method of switching the phone off and on again
  • uninstall and reinstall the app.

Note that before you log in to the new app, you will need to have reset your password as explained elsewhere, and your push notifications will not start until you have logged in at least once on your device.

Why am I only seeing the species and county in the app?

This is the default view for non-subscribers. If you have a subscription, log in by clicking on the BirdGuides icon in the top left-hand corner of the app and clicking "Login".

Can I get push notifications to my Android phone?

Yes. Push notifications have been available on iOS devices since the original app was launched. We're pleased to say that they are also now available on Android.

How do I set my push notifications and app filters?

Go to the Manage My Filters page. Set up as many filters as you like, and tick the "Send Push Notifications?" box for those categories of reports for which you'd like to receive a push notification.

Although the app does not need to be running to receive push notifications, you do need to log into the app at least once to establish the connection and enable us to identify your device and send notifications to it. If you explicitly log out of the app, your notifications will stop until you next log in.

When I click or swipe on a push notification, why don't I see that particular report?

This will be addressed in the near future.

Why can't I see the gallery in the new app?

We have taken the decision to remove the photo gallery from the app, in the interests of reducing the download size and because the new website galleries are designed to be more mobile-friendly.

Can I still use the old Bird News Anywhere "WAP" service?

No, this facility has been withdrawn. With the availability of low-bandwidth apps for the majority of devices, the introduction of a more mobile-friendly website, and improvements in signal coverage, we decided that we could no longer justify the development resource required to create and maintain, at the expense of more widely used features, an extra platform that is used by a small and decreasing proportion of our users.

How do I log in on my iPhone 4?

Issues with the on-screen keyboard prevented login on some older iPhones with smaller screens in early versions of the iOS app. This is fixed in the latest version of the iOS app.

Will my iTunes auto-renewal still work?

No. Your existing subscription will be honoured in full until at least your expiry date, but when it expires, it will not auto-renew (and you will not be charged by us or Apple). You will need to renew your subscription manually with us, but you can choose a quarterly or annual Direct Debit subscription that will auto-renew until you cancel it. See BirdGuides Subscriptions for prices or to place an order.

Further Queries

Have a query relating to your renewal or subscription?

To review the details of your subscription, click here or contact the BirdGuides Subscription department on 01778 392027 (or email subscriptions@warnersgroup.co.uk at weekends or after 5pm on weekdays).

Have a question relating to a sighting?

Contact sightings@birdguides.com.

Have a technical question?

Email contact@birdguides.com.

Download our brochure here.