Bird watching is a popular hobby and bird watchers spend a lot of money on things that can help them view and identify different birds. New technology, with electronic field guides, is becoming increasingly popular as the technology improves. Guides often contain clear photos, sounds, and even ways to record and post sightings to various websites. Here are 5 great applications for bird watching. These apps should be available in the app store of the device that you are using. Not all apps are available to all devices and some older devices may not be able to support newer apps. The list isn’t in any particular order.
Audubon Birds: Audubon Birds is a large application that contains all the birds that are normally seen in North America as well as a few rare visitors. This app contains a wealth of photos and sounds for bird watchers to sort through to help correctly identify a bird by sight or sound. It also contains accurate location maps. There is an added feature where one can post sightings to their Nature Share site directly from that location. You can also find a bird on through the eBird system with just a few taps. One of the drawbacks is the scanty description section where only a few key facts of the birds
Merlin: Merlin is a new bird watching app designed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. It uses their eBird reporting site as well as asking a few simple questions to help identify the most likely birds in your area. The app draws on real sightings by other birders to help with identification. Merlin would be particularly useful for beginning bird watchers. One drawback is that this app doesn’t currently contain as many species as most bird watchers would like. There are plans to add more species in the future. Another drawback is that you have to be connected to the internet to use this app.
iBird: iBird is an app by the Mitch Waite Group that is similar to Whatbird.com. The app contains accurate drawings and descriptions as well as a wealth of other information about a particular species. It also contains photos of most birds and a link to other sites such as Flickr and Birdpedia to further help with identification. One of the nice things about this app is that less common or rare birds are listed, including species presumed extinct such as the Eskimo curlew. This app can be purchased in a less expensive “lite” version.
Birdlog: Birdlog is an app that doesn’t help identify birds, but helps with reporting sightings. This app makes it easier to report sightings as they’re happening. You can use the app both offline and submit sightings once you’re back online.
Sibley eGuide: Sibley’s Guides are known for their detailed artwork and accurate location maps. The full version of this guide can contain nearly a thousand different species. There’s also a free “lite” version to try out with only thirty species.
All bird watching apps should be easy to use for identifying and recording bird sightings. Which one is best to use depends on the experience and needs of the individual bird watcher. It may be best to try out a “lite” version, if possible, to see if the app is right for you. If you like the smaller version, then buying the full version might be worth it.