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Wake Audubon Birdwatching and Environmental Meetup Message Board › Birding Apps for your Smartphone

Birding Apps for your Smartphone

Group Organizer
Raleigh, NC
Post #: 121
Topic. Birding Apps for your Smartphone.
Smartphone Apps for Birders
The follow bird apps may prove useful during your birding adventures!
Prices subject to change.
I received this list during a brief stop at Prairie Ridge Ecostation during the Great Backyard Bird Count.

Of the items on this list: I've only used the Sibley app, and I find it to be very helpful.
If you are going to use your phone as your only field guide, then make sure the phone is protected with a special cover (often called an otter) to protect it from mud, sand, and other hazards.

The Sibley's app includes many bird songs and calls, which is a very important item to have in the field. Please use bird songs sparingly, particularly during breeding season. Note that some parks prohibit the use of amplified electronic bird songs. (Yes, you can purchase a mini speaker for your phone to amplify the sound - check with Radio Shack and similar stores for these devices. )

Sibley's is the only birding app I have used, so I cannot judge the others on this list.

I rely on a paperbound field guide most of the time as I don't want to fumble with a phone when I am out in the field. I admit, having the app on my smartphone to identify calls and songs is very useful.. Plus, I can check on extra plumages and subspecies of birds.

I recommend you do all your purchasing on your desktop PC, with your phone nearby.
The app can be safely purchased and registered on the PC, then it automatically downloads to your (fully-charged and powered-on) phone. Unless you are absolutely sure of the security on your smartphone, I would avoid purchasing any app that involves a credit card directly on your phone. Keeping the account on your PC also makes it easier to keep track of your apps in the unfortunate event that your phone is lost/broken/stolen.

Life List Tracking apps:

(1) Bird Log NA (North America) (iPhone and Android, $9.99)
This app lets you track your bird sightings on the go, look for interesting bird sightings nearby, and it ties right into eBird so you can make your sightings available to others. Bird Log also has a worldwide version of this app so you can record your bird sightings anywhere!

Field Guide apps: (Make sure you are buying the correct region)

(1) Sibley eGuide to Birds (iPhone and Android, $19.99)
More expensive than other options, but it brings the great Sibley field guide to your mobile device.
Includes many extra diagrams of the birds in different ages, plumages, and subspecies.
Includes a great collection of bird songs to help you learn all those confusing warblers, vireos, and backyard birds.
(Even shorebirds can be identified by their calls.)

(2) Audubon Birds (iPhone and Android, $4.99)
Audubon's field guide for your phone.

(3) Peterson Birds of North America (iPhone only, $4.99... Android under development?)
Carry the Peterson field guide to birds with you right on your phone.

(4) Peterson Feeder Birds of North America (iPhone only, FREE)
Want to know which birds are coming to your feeders? This free app can help. Great for beginners as the list of birds is much briefer than a full field guide.

Let me know what you think of these birding apps! - L. Erla Beegle

A former member
Post #: 1
I ended up with three on my iPhone: Sibley's, iBird Pro, and Peterson (the last two were either at reduced price or free as part of a marketing push by the developers). The only one I use is Sibley: it is the most useful for me by far (and the most expensive by far). The Peterson one has the little arrows for key ID points on the pictures, but I find it cumbersome to use. The iBIrd one has more artistic (and less useful, I think) pictures and some additional details on the natural history of each species that the others lack. There are comparison reviews of the apps that you can find by searching on "best birding apps" -- just make sure you look at 2012-13 posting since there are constant updates and price changes.
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