The blue jays are getting aggressive at my feeder. Acting like eighth grade boys, they pick and poke at each other to get the sunflower seeds. All of the snow must be stressing them out.
Identifying the blue jays is easy. However, often birds show up in my backyard that I cannot name. They tend to be brownish and look similar. “Oh,” I think to myself, “must be some kind of sparrow,” and that’s as far as I get. Fortunately, the bird identification apps I have learned about recently are helping me become a more discerning observer. In Part 1 and Part 2 of this series on winter birding in New England, I shared apps and websites that friends use:
- Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s http://www.allaboutbirds.
- The Sibley eGuide to Birds
- iBird Pro
I’ve done a little exploring of the App Store and found two more apps that are very helpful. The first, free from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, is the Merlin Bird ID. It has a step-by-step process for identifying birds.
This app also has a audio section on bird calls and maps showing the range of each species. Very helpful.
The second app is from National Geographic. Their big app is $9.99. However, they also offer a “lite” version for free. As expected from National Geographic, the images of the birds are stunning and the field markings are clearly labeled. This app also allows you to embed your life list in the app.
Your smart phone can help you identify birds you see as you travel, hike , or just look out your back window. Keep it handy with one or more bird identification apps loaded! Have fun!