About Thayer Birding Software

Founded in 1994, Thayer Birding Software (TBS) was started by Pete Thayer out of his passion for birding and to provide nature-lovers a way to easily become the local bird expert.

Peter W. Thayer, 1994

In 1993 Pete was using an old MS-DOS listing and record-keeping program called Avisys. But nothing existed that would also show you the birds or let you hear them sing. There were no birding programs that ran on the newer graphical user interfaces like Macintosh or Windows. There were no multimedia CDs with pictures, sounds, and video — just printed field guides and recordings on cassette tapes or records.

During 1993 and the spring of 1994, Pete developed a Windows prototype that would fix this problem. He partnered with a local consulting company in Cincinnati, Full Service Networking, and asked them 1) is it ready and 2) is it viable? FSN came back with “No, but here’s what you should do” and “Yes, if you approach it a certain way”. Pete asked, “When can you get started?”

The first prototype was displayed at the American Birding Association convention in Minot, ND on June 17, 1994 (the same day that O.J. Simson had his famous “car chase.”) Over the next few years, under the leadership of Dave Diehl, they produced the first two versions of Guide to Birds of North America and Birder’s Diary. The first actual sales were shipped on November 28, 1994.

Thayer Birding Software relocated to Naples, Florida in 1998 and parted ways with FSN in 1999. Dave was hired as a full-time employee. He went on to create version 3 of the software. In 2008, a new consulting company from King of Prussia, PA was retained to help with versions 4, through 7.7 and the annual updates to Guide to Birds of North America. Marty Matulevich was the chief programmer.

After a number of years, Birder’s Diary was sold to Jeff Jones Technology in 2005. Jeff is still supporting and expanding it to this day.

Over twenty-five years there have been seven major upgrades and forty-four free updates to the birding programs.

On September 21, 2018, when Pete turned 70, the software was offered to kids 18 and younger at no cost. When the global pandemic was declared in March of 2020, the software was made available at no cost to everyone. In late 2020, Pete Thayer decided to start winding down the for-profit part of Thayer Birding Software LLC, including ongoing updates and support.

Thayer Birding Software and thayerbirding.com, as a for-profit company, were closed permanently on December 31, 2020. However, Pete is proud to continue to provide the software, as a download, free-of-charge on thayerbirding.org. All of the FAQs that were published on the support site are reproduced here on the Support Library Page.