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Thread: Bird apps?

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    Senior Member Scubahhh's Avatar
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    Bird apps?

    Anybody have thoughts about the best iPhone/ipad app for birding? I have the free versions of Audubon, Peterson, and Nat Geo, and want to get the paid version of one, but I can't tell from the freebies which is best.
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    Senior Member iAmKrzys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scubahhh View Post
    Anybody have thoughts about the best iPhone/ipad app for birding? I have the free versions of Audubon, Peterson, and Nat Geo, and want to get the paid version of one, but I can't tell from the freebies which is best.
    Whenever I have a problem identifying birds I post pictures on Facebook page of Cornell Labs of Ornithology. There is a lot of advanced / expert birders watching this page and they are happy to dispense knowledge, so you can probably get some good advice there from folks that know what they are talking about.

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    Senior Member nartreb's Avatar
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    If you have photos to post, there's a Bird Identification Help group on Flickr. For tough cases, go to the experts at Birdforum.net.

    I would really hate to try to use an iphone app in the field on a sunny day. The best resource is to take good notes so you can look it up later, second is a printed field guide (I like Peterson's - it's really good at drawing your attention to the features that are most useful in distinguishing species).

    It surprises me that you can't tell which app you like. When you say "best" did you have some particular criterion in mind?

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    Senior Member TEO's Avatar
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    The Cornell Lab has a free app called "Merlin." While I have it on my phone, I have yet to use it in the field. I just opened it for the first time & tried its Bird ID—I like it, it walks you through location size, color, where you saw it (ground, branch, etc.).

    I have had the Audubon Birds app—it was on sale for $2.50 on Audubon's birthday a couple years back—and have used it in the field, when I haven't had a bird guidebook handy. If you have a pretty good idea of the what it might be, in can be useful. But, if you have relatively little idea about what it is, it's not so user-friendly.

    Edit to add: Nothing, for me, beats a field guide that you're familiar with. I grew up with the Golden Guide to Birds of North America & continue to use it, though I now use the Sibleys, too.
    Last edited by TEO; 05-27-2016 at 10:12 AM.

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    Senior Member sardog1's Avatar
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    I've used the paid version from Audubon for a long time and like it a lot. Merlin is handy but limited in scope. Haven't tried the Peterson and Nat Geo ones.

    I'm even older than some (all?) of you. My life list is maintained in the 37th printing of the second edition of Peterson's "A Field Guide to the Birds". And there's a fourth edition copy here, plus a signed "A Field Guide to Western Birds," plus "The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds," plus all the Sibley titles – some in duplicate formats (no, I'm not kidding about that) – and various regional guides. I don't have the aforementioned Golden Guide but I remember using it as a grade schooler. In short, I'll throw down any day of the week with the rest of you supposed birders.
    sardog1

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    Senior Member TEO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sardog1 View Post
    In short, I'll throw down any day of the week with the rest of you supposed birders.
    Oh, I'm a lifelong hack of a birder. Still, that hasn't prevented me from enjoying it. My mother, on the other hand, is both older than you & surely a stout challenge to your supposed throwdown.

    I was hiking with a friend in Vermont several years ago when I learned that he had roomed in college with a precocious young birder who, IIRC, later dropped out to work on watercolors. They shared a birding class where everyone would share the birds they'd seen that week. My friend's later roommate would read off an absurdly high number every week, including seldom seen ones. For a while, everyone thought he was making it all up. The roomie's first name: David, middle: Allen. Some of you may be familiar with some of his watercolors & accompanying descriptions work.

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    Another good bird app is iBird Pro Guide to Birds of North America. That's the one I like and use most often.
    J&J

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    Senior Member iAmKrzys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TEO View Post
    My friend's later roommate would read off an absurdly high number every week, including seldom seen ones. For a while, everyone thought he was making it all up. The roomie's first name: David, middle: Allen. Some of you may be familiar with some of his watercolors & accompanying descriptions work.
    Every time I go on a hike with advanced birders it is a very humbling experience for me. Recently, I joined a team of birders for World Series of Birding event during which teams in New Jersey compete to identify the largest number of species over the course of a day. The team I was with stayed in our local park and identified 83 species just in that park! I doubt I could spot even a fifth of this number myself... If you have a spare evening I recommend a comedy "The Big Year." It's a bit of exaggeration, but I really believe some birders are extremely good at spotting & identifying birds.

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