Birding is one of the favorite hobbies for most of us. If you are one of those who would love to cultivate the new hobby of the block, you should begin with identifying the birds. Maybe we are aware of the common birds we find around us, but what about the migratory birds?
Over the years, technological advances have changed the hobby of birdwatching and is actually enticing a whole new generation of fans. Birdwatching is experiencing a resurgence and today’s smartphone apps are playing a significant role in the new popularity, especially among young people.
With a smartphone birding app, birders don’t have to pack paper field guides when they go bird watching, they now just simply take their phone (which they would probably have anyway) and when they locate a bird they just open one of their bird watching apps to quickly and easily identify the bird.
So how are the birding apps today helping bird watchers? We will take a look at some of the apps and many of the features they have to offer. Not all birding apps offer all of these features, so you will have to choose the app you feel is best suited for your needs.
The Advantages Of Using Birding Apps
Create Bird Lists: Some apps help you create and add a list of birds as you spot
them. You can also create lists for certain trips. After you have completed your
list, it’s easy to check them off as you find and identify them. You might find this is
easier and more convenient a lot easier than writing them down on a piece of
Replaces Paper Field Guides: Although paper birding guides often offer descriptions of
bird calls, they don’t always really help you really identify many bird sounds.
Many apps give you the ability to play a variety of different bird calls, making
it much more effective to identify a specify bird.
Compare Two Species Side By Side: With certain apps you can simply select two birds from the index and the app brings them up on the same screen so you can look closely for differences. This is extremely useful when trying to separate two very similar looking species.
Ease of Visual Identification: Apps make it easier and faster
when searching for, and finding a specific bird. This
function is very useful for all, from novice birders to
Browse Bird Images: Many birding apps provide you with thousands of stunning images taken by top photographers, as well as thousands of professional audio recordings of birds from around the world.
Photo Identification Function: Merlin Bird ID appalls you to take a photo of a bird, or pull one in from your camera roll, and it will offer a short list of possible matches. Photo ID works completely offline, so you can even identify birds in the photos you take when you are far from cell service.
Strong Search Capabilities: Detailed descriptions of
songs and calls, conservation status,
genus,species, shape, size, color, flight
pattern, bill shape and length, wing shape and
Location Information: Many apps offer detailed maps show winter and
summer range as well as migration and rare
Detailed Bird Descriptions: of songs and calls, comparing
similar species measurements of length, wingspan,
and weight for every species.
Sound Recordings: Thousands of carefully-selected
and edited sound recordings. Nearly all species are
represented with multiple examples showing the
range of vocalizations.
Some of Todays Leading Apps For Bird Watchers
Below is a list of some of the most popular birding apps in the market today. Hopefully, after you check out some of these birding apps, the next time you go bird watching you will take your smartphone to help you with a host of bird watching tasks.
BirdsEye is indeed a great birding app and thousands of bird watchers swear by it. BirdsEye has a collection of thousands of birds. You can just choose a specific bird from the database, and the app will tell you where you can find them. You will even be provided with the directions to the region. You can also search by your location, and find which birds can be found in your region.
The app has images of the birds so that you can easily identify the birds. The BirdsEye app also comprises of bird sounds (also called Bird calls) so that you can identify the birds even when you can't see them.
EBird is a global database for bird watching records. You can enter your bird sightings on the app. However, do take note that EBird will demand significant proof in support of your findings. EBird also comes with a wide range of advanced features to help you practice bird watching in a professional manner. It can access your GPS location so that the sightings can be recorded accurately. EBird being a popular app, you can connect with hundreds of bird watchers in your area itself.
The app offers you offline functionality as well. Since it can identify the location you are at, it offers you a list of birds that have been spotted at the location by other bird watchers before.
The Merlin app comes from Cornell Lab of Ornithology. If you are not yet sure that you are capable of identifying the birds on your own, this can be an excellent choice for you.
The Bird ID app works best when you want to identify the bird you have just spotted. You only need to answer a few questions that the app would be asking you. Merlin ID goes on with a series of questions and narrows down the possibility of the precise identification of the bird you have sighted. The app has information about over 400 varieties of birds from the American region itself.
The results that Merlin offers you are quite accurate. It lets you zero in on the exact bird with the aid of a huge list of images and videos, and even the bird calls.
With this app, you can choose either of the two apps that Larkwire has on offer. One of the apps is meant for Waterbirds, while the other is for the Land birds.
The app is quite easy to use. It has well-built tutorials that let you know the intricacies of bird songs. The app has the similar sounding bird calls grouped together. That would help you differentiate between the sounds by listening to them carefully.
The Larkwire app excels with its functionality as it provides you great sound quality. The application also provides you expert help to aid you in becoming an expert when it comes to bird watching.
eGuide to Bird Watching
The eGuide to Bird Watching for the Indian Subcontinent is definitely a great option for finding the birds and their information in India and surrounding locations. You will find the app useful in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the Maldives.
The app has a collection of over 1300 species of the birds found in the region. A couple of features that make it worth considering can be High-resolution images, maps indicating where to find a particular bird and detailed information on the individual species of the birds. The app also lets you compare two birds on the same screen. You can also have your Personal Bird List that includes the list of birds you have spotted.
Sibley eGuide to the Birds of North America
This app shows every major seasonal, age, and sexual variation and offers detailed
information on subspecies and regional variations. Sable also provides detailed
maps showing not just winter and summer range but also migration and rare
occurrence.There are many detailed descriptions of songs and calls, comparing
similar species measurements of length, wingspan, and weight for every species.
There are thousands of carefully-selected and edited sound recordings. Nearly all
species are represented with multiple examples showing the range of vocalizations.
Sibley gives you the ability to compare any two images, maps, or sounds, side by
side on the screen and filter species by state/province, so that you see only the
species likely to occur in your location.
Audubon Birding App
Identify over 800 species with in-depth descriptions including information on
appearance, habitat, behavior, and more. This app allows you to explore a gallery of
thousands of images from the world-renowned VIREO, Academy of Natural Sciences
of Drexel University’s world-wide collection of bird photography. To will be able to
listen to up to eight hours of the exceptional sounds of your favorite birds,
differentiated by region and season. You will also have the luxury of accessing
robust seasonal and migratory range maps and filter species by shape, region and
color, aiding quick identification. You can use “Find Birds with eBird” to locate birds
seen recently around you, drawing on the continuously updated database from
the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology and eBird.
National Geographic Birding App
This comprehensive app allows you to sort by location, size and color through
867 birds of North America. You will find it easy to view more than 1600 bird
images, listen to bird songs, see hundreds of range maps, behavior and more.
Search for birds by name and the list updates and shortens as you type in the
various information in the search box.
Note: The above list is just a partial list of some of the popular birding apps in the market. Please do your homework and look at all of the bird watching apps in the market and decide what app features and functions that are best for you.
Getting Started With Your Birding App
Getting started simply requires knowing how your phone works.
It’s easy to download these apps and the fantastic thing about many of these apps, in addition to the fact that they are more convenient to carry in the field than big, heavy books, is their ability to quickly provide you with information to play the birds calls! This is a big help in learning how to identify birds both visually and by their calls. Note; many birders are very cautious about using the calls as playback in the field. Please consider the well being of the bird and how these sounds could effect the breeding birds and the threat of intruders in their territory!
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