posted March 14th, 2011; last edited April 22nd, 2014 –– David Sibley

Sibley eGuide FAQ

What makes this app different from other bird ID apps?

A few key points that set this guide apart from other bird ID apps:

  • Illustrated with paintings (which are better than photos for comparing similar species) from the best-selling Sibley Guide to Birds.
  • Many more sounds, over 2400 different examples of over 700 species.
  • Easy navigation designed for birders, giving you quick and uncluttered access to related species and to the information that you need in the field
  • Ability to compare two species’ images or sounds side-by-side on the screen (no other bird app offers this very important feature)

…. And much more, with many upgrades in the works!

Will this work on my phone? Is there a version of the app for Blackberry, Windows Mobile, iPad, NetBook, Kindle, etc.?

Versions for iPhone (and iPad), Android, Windows Phone, Kindle Fire, Blackberry are now available. A Nook version and a Blackberry Playbook version are in the works.

Does the phone have to be connected to a data network for the app to work?

Once the app is set up and running it does not need to be connected to a network, all the content resides on the phone. (But Android phones do need to connect initially and at least every two months to verify the license, see below)

Does the eGuide have now – or will it have – connectivity or transportability to eBird, so one’s observations just need to be uploaded to eBird?

Not yet… I’ve been told this is a priority for eBird, and they’re working on ways to allow quick uploads from mobile devices, but currently it is not possible. As soon as it is we will work on letting users connect the eGuide to their eBird account.

How can I upload bird sighting records from the list in the app to my computer?

You can now email the list from the app to yourself (or anyone else) which is a good idea just so that you have a backup of the data. We are working on a web portal and other improvements to make the list data more useful and accessible.

Are you concerned about the effects of playback on birds, given that so many people are carrying digital field guides with audio?

Check out my in-depth discussion of this issue elsewhere on this website: link here Playback should be used as little as possible, because it is a disturbance to birds and to other birders. It is illegal in many parks and refuges, and it is illegal to disturb any threatened or endangererd species. If you do use it, be very sensitive to the birds and any nearby birders. keep the volume low and play just a few short snippets of sound, then watch and wait.

[iPhone] Do I have to have an iPhone to run this, or will it work on iPod touch?

The app will run on a newer iPod Touch (check the iTunes page for the minimum iOS software version required). It will not run on iPod Classic or Nano.)

[iPhone] Will the app work on iPad?

The same app works on both the iPhone and the iPad, with a different layout specific to each device.

[iPhone] Do I have to buy a separate copy for my iPad?

As long as you are syncing the iPhone and iPad (or iPod touch) to the same copy of iTunes, you can use one copy of the app on multiple devices.

[iPhone] If I purchase the Sibley app, and then get a new phone, can I install it on a new iPhone?

Yes, as long as you are syncing the iPhone/iPod to a computer, once the app is downloaded to iTunes it can be installed on any device synced to that copy of iTunes.

[iPhone] I can’t get the audio to play more than once. The song plays and then it doesn’t respond to tapping after that.

The sound control has been changed as of spring 2011 so it should be easier to understand and this should not be an issue. Make sure you have the latest version.

[iPhone] Suddenly the songs will not play. It worked fine before but now there is no sound?

  • First, check the volume settings and make sure that the “”mute”” button on the side of the phone is switched off.
  • Tap the play button on an audio selection in the app and then use the “”up”” volume button to increase the multimedia volume, this is separate from the ringer volume and can only be changed when playing audio.
  • If you still have no sound, close all apps that are running (iPhone 4, with multi-tasking, allows apps to continue running in the background. If many apps are open there will not be enough resources available to run the Sibley eGuide app, which can lead to lack of sound and other quirks.). Alternatively, or as a lest test, turn the phone completely off and back on (Hold down the power button until a red bar appears, slide to shut down.) This will close all apps and clear memory.

If you still have no sound, Contact us.

[Android] If I purchase Sibley for my Android, can I install it on a new Android phone?

Yes. You can log in to the Android app store and redownload any previously purchased apps to your new phone.

[Android] I just purchased and downloaded the app. All I have is an ERROR message…””no such table: Resources; while compiling: SELECT COUNT(filename) FROM [Resources} Help!!!

If you downloaded the files directly to your phone rather than to a computer, it is possible that some of the data files have become corrupt, especially if during the download process there were interruptions. You can do the following to rectify: Uninstall the application and then reinstall form the Marketplace. Download the resource files manually and copy them to the media card overwriting the current files. Browse to this link  and then procede to “”Sibley Android installation instructions”” this will tell you how to download the files and extract to media card. If this still does not help, contact me.

[Android] The Android app worked well at home, but when I took it into the field, where my phone cannot connect to the network, I got a message saying something to the effect that the app couldn’t verify my license, and it wouldn’t start.

Initially, you do need to connect to the Android Server to verify your license information, but once this is complete this information is cached and the device uses its local cache store for verifying license details. HOWEVER, the caching can expire (currently set to 2 months) so if you don’t use\open the field guide for more than 2 months, it will want to connect to the server to verify the license details.

Please browse to this page this is the url that is in the instructions on the bottom of the page for manual installation. Then under Blackberry Database Downloads proceed to “Sibley Birds Blackberry installation instructions”.  Please follow the instructions on this page, you will be asked to connect your Blackberry Device to your PC, and to make sure “mass storage” mode is enabled, you will then see a link on the page “ Click here to open the popup window and start the manual installation.” This will start the java applet, which downloads the required resource files to your PC and then extracts them to your removable storage card on the device in the correct folder structure. You just need to leave your device connected to the PC until the Status window says “Complete”

110 comments to Sibley eGuide FAQ

  • Good day Stefan,

    Unfortunately at this stage there is no way to export the log from one Operating System to the other, we are in the process of developing a tool to allow the export of log data across all mobile platforms, this should be available towards the end of Q2 this year.

    Regards Development Team

  • Chris Thomas

    I purchased a copy of the Sibley Guide to birds of Western America for my IPhone 4 – a truly amazing guide. Toward the end of my three year contract my 16mb phone was getting too full and I needed to clear some memory so I had to take the guide off the phone assuming that it still resides as a purchased app somewhere. On my IPhone 5 I cannot find it at all when I go to the App Store apart from having to pay for it again! Why would that be – I thought that once you bought it it is yours for good? Can anyone help me with this?

  • Janet

    I bought Sibley’s app for my Blackberry Z-10, and I am adding to My List all the time. How do I export My List to my computer? I use Windows 7 and I have Blackberry Link on the computer. Also, I have a Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 tablet. If I want to put Sibley’s Bird app on this tablet, do I have to buy it again? My main concern is getting a backup copy of My List in case something happens to my phone.

    • Good day Janet,

      Please follow the instructions from the Blackberry Guide below to access the “Mass Storage” feature of your device. Once your device is attached to a computer as Mass Storage you can use the computers File Management (e.g. Windows Explorer) to browse the files on the device and copy your exported list (.csv) to your computer.

      Regarding the Sibley Birds app on your Samsung tablet – unfortunately this requires a separate purchase as the app is not transferable between Blackberry and Android. This is beyond our control and we do apologize for this inconvenience.

      Regards, Development Team

  • Chris Thomas

    It seems that Renato on February 17th post had the same problem?

  • Lance Beswick

    Hello: I purchased Sibley Birds on line last year and have been accessing the app using my Blackberry tablet. It worked perfectly until a couple of days ago when it failed to load. All I get is a black screen with the picture of the app on the bottom left side and the words “Sibley Birds” on the bottom centre. It’s very annoying as I have been teaching my granddaughters how to recognize birds and their calls, etc. Any suggestions on how I can restore the app’s functionality?

  • Bill

    I am having trouble synching my bird list between my ipad and my iphone. The list in on my iPad. I have saved the list to iTunes Media csv. It should be synching on iCloud, and I have done an iTunes synch by wifi. The list should appear on my iPhone but it doesn’t. Any ideas?

    By the way, I think the Sibley eGuide is terrific.

  • I purchased the app yesterday for my Galaxy 5s and love it. Am I able to now get it downloaded to my IPAD and to my PC?


    • Hi Gail, Thanks, I’m glad you like the app. It is available for iPad/iPhone and for Windows, although each one would have to be purchased separately. There is no connection between the different app stores, and no way to transfer a license from one to the other, unfortunately.
      –Best, David

  • Chris

    Trying to transfer my list from my iPod to my Android phone, every time I try to do so it only grabs the previous backup I made on the phone. Is there a way to transfer the .csv file from my ipod to the phone?

  • Perry Fulkerson

    How can I alphabetize my bird list in the Sibley app? Despite the fact that I have been entering them alphabetically, they appear in the app in no obvious order (certainly not alpha order). Any tips?

  • Ron Rabin

    I am stuck on my location page and can’t get back to main menu.

    • The “Main Menu” button at top left should exit the location page (saving whatever location was selected). If that’s not working then fully closing the app and restarting should fix it. If you’re still having trouble let me know and the developers will help resolve the issue.

      Best, David

  • Jerred

    I have an Android phone with very little free space on the device, but plenty on my SD card. Can I install the guide on the SD card or does it have to be directly on the device?

  • Carole

    I’m trying to get My List from an iPhone 4 to my new galaxy Samsung 5. I Exported the .cvs file from my iPhone and when using the import function in the Sibley app on my Samsung it sees it, but will not import it giving me an error message “your list could not be imported”. Is the tool to export across operating systems that you referred to in your reply to Stefan available yet? Any advice appreciated.

  • Jim Woodward

    On iPad, selecting the My Location item, I cannot get back to the Main menu.
    Intro and Help works, but exiting that, the My Location panel remains open, and no way to close it, or get to Main menu.

  • Michaela

    A couple of questions… How do I alphabetized my list of birds? How do I see my list created on my IPad on my IPhone? On my iPad, in my list, when I try to drill down to view the bird, when I click on the common name, I get an error, “names cannot be edited”, but it works properly on my IPhone.


  • Unable to complete installation due to network error message and when I clicked on your link above for Android work around instructions I received a message stating “server application unavailable”

  • Deb Kral

    Help – purchased the Sibley Birds App for Android tablet – every time I try to use it I get a new error message that I am missing files needed to run the application, even after downloading and initializing the app two hours earlier? Supposedly I do not need a connection to run the app but why does it constantly want to download files and not run without them. FRUSTRATING!

  • Claira Mittman

    Hi! I purchased the app for my android phone and it works great. I went to install it on my android tablet and when I go to install the files required to run the application it says “recvfrom failed: ECONNRESET (Connection reset by peer)”. How do I fix this?

  • Deb Kral

    Still unable to download updates to even *open* the app on the Samsung Android tablet??? Is this app supposed to run without a wifi connection? Help, please!

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