High-flyin’ has gone high tech. Who hasn’t heard of tweeting? The Internet was made for the birds… and for birders. Social media is the perfect resource to share your birding adventures information and tips, learn from others in the birdwatching community and get “connected” to a wide resource for ornithology. This is the best century to be a birder. You can interact with enthusiasts and scholars from across the globe…and in live time. Hit the rain forest through live streaming or watch a conservation effort in Japan. If you are a passionate birder, find out how to get featured, join an organization or plan a fascinating expedition with a research organization. Let’s get started.
When the Cornell Lab of Ornithology teams up with the Audubon Society – expect great things. eBird is the app that hatched when these birding brains combined to launch a “ simple and intuitive web-interface [that] engages tens of thousands of participants [in French, Spanish and English] to submit their observations or view results via interactive queries into the eBird database.”
And that’s hard to beat. This interactive, international and ecologically intellectual site will keep you busy. Loaded with gear tips, research findings, bird population tracking, global monitoring and findings and so much more … you have to get involved.
eBird features a hands-on format for you to join the vast birding community, post your sightings and observations and read about what fellow birders are recording. Once you sign up you can begin to add your data in order to “maximize the utility and accessibility of the vast numbers of bird observations made each year by recreational and professional bird watchers…For example, in May 2015, participants reported more than 9.5 million bird observations across the world!”
Because conservation is everyone’s responsibility, you will be able to actively contribute to this project, and that is amazing! The groups are arranged in specific portals with information being gathered by region, project or species. Read about the Franklin Gull population counts or what activity is occurring in your country or region. Here are a few highlighted topics from the View and Explore Data page:
This page prompts you to choose from a global location to see what is happening – it is broken down by hemisphere.
A global map pinpoints where the birds are. Literally. Data on the species observed is posted in real time.
This is another interactive feature that allows you to click on a chosen area to learn about what species you will be able to witness. Choose which country, and then which topic, you wish to observe from an entire state, to one preserve or wildlife area. This chart is a phenomenal resource for birdwatchers, as it allows you to expand your field excursions and interests.
Watch this map light up (yup!) as an individual submits their birding data. A yellow button illuminates the map just as a birder posts! Only one word can describe this page – cool.
The people who publish the hard copies of our preferred field guides also provide equally useful apps. These apps “one up” the texts as you can receive immediate bird sighting information from fellow birders, as well as quickly access bird calls —all at the handy reach of your smart phone (which most of us ALWAYS have available). If you suddenly hear the melodious whistle of a yellow warbler while leaving the post office, no worries, identify that little guy on the spot!
Here is the list:
Available for Apple and Android users, Peterson producers have created a fantastic array of useful identification apps that allow you to instantly compare species by plumage, sex, song and age. This app collects all 8 guides in one, allowing you unparalleled bird identification. Here is a video displaying the apps user interface.
The screen will present several photos of the birds including their vocalization and location! Link to the sightings published on ebird and fashion your own checklist adding in important information such as season and weather conditions. Peterson also offers a great support network when you hit any technical snags.
Get Sibley’s detailed paintings on your phone. Each depiction is superbly crafted and has each bird’s points “highlighted” for unique characteristics such as “black crown and rufous coverlets.” The app is available for 5 platforms including Kindle Fire. With over 6,600 illustrations of over 800 species, their calls (2300 songs) and hundreds of region maps, this is a phenomenal electronic field resource. Features are similar to those offered by Peterson’s Guide.
- Comparisons of birds and their similar calls
- Variations in plumage by age (weight and size), season (when applicable) and sex
- Maps that reveal sightings by season, habitat, rare sightings and migration patterns
- Personal log feature with the ability to compare annotations with other birders in your area
Other apps are available from premier nature and conservation groups including:
Over 900 species are featured with 3,000 detailed illustrations. The National Geographic app features range, season and migration maps. It has the log application that lets you set in your sightings by day, area and by species sighted (including the bird’s image) with your own personal info recordings. Enjoy real-time birding as well as these extra perks — interactive quizzes and games, a birding tips and gear resource….and must-see birding hotspots assembled by the ornithologists at National Geographic.
Visit the webpage for Audubon’s new app. A video is provided to walk you through the features of their popular and top-notch e-birding guide. Audubon provides you with their “new updated library of professional color photographs that show the diversity of birds as you see them, in their natural habitat, by gender, age, and seasonal plumage variations (with over 3,150 completely new, high-resolution images).”
This is a comprehensive birdwatching guide which includes personal log tracking, range maps (including winter and rare sightings), expert resources, comparison features and easy to use identification tools with over 8 hours of bird calls! Audubon never disappoints!
Whichever app you choose, don’t let too much time pass. Get out into the field and find those birds. And with these handy birding tools, you can begin logging your sightings anywhere and anytime! Share your favorite app with us and let us know what birds are flying in your neck of the woods!