We all have been at a point in our life, where we have closely looked at or observed birds. Be it in school, in the zoo or even sitting lethargically in our backyards. While it can be a great way to pass time for most of us, birding or birdwatching is actually a passion for quite a few people. You need binoculars, costly camera lenses, and a lot of patience to learn about birds. So, if you have a smartphone and you’re curious, here are the best bird apps in 2020.
1. Collins Bird Guide
Best for – Bird Education Guide
This app comes from Collins which is a major publishing house for educational and informative books. On the same lines, as you would see in a hardbound book, this app also features illustrations and extremely comprehensive details about over 700 bird species. Besides all this, If you’ve kids in your house, you can also take advantage of in-app purchases, and enjoy documentary grade videos on the screen.
I agree that the app comes at $19, plus many in-app purchases, but if you have an iPad, I’m sure you and kids around you are going to love this on a larger screen.
2. Merlin Bird ID
Best for – Identifying Birds with pictures
is there an app to identify birds? Yes. The app has a bird identifier that lets you click pictures of any bird or upload from your local storage and detects it for you. I thought this won’t work, but it really is a great way if you’re in the wilderness and clueless about the bird you’re looking at.
Another useful feature of this app is downloadable Bird packs. These packs contain information about birds such as photos, calls and songs of regions like the United States, Canada, Mexico, Asia, etc.
For example, if you choose U.S. Southwest, it’ll show you the entire bird database in the area of Arizona and New Mexico. You can scroll through dozens of pictures and also read about visual characteristics of the bird, how to identify, multiple high-quality audio sounds, etc.
Best – Logging Birds
Unlike the above app where is more like a guide to find more about birds, this one lets you contribute in building and updating that database. The app is free and also allows user to enter data without any internet connection.
This app uses your geotagging and shows the user a bird checklist, filtered by your location which can help you identify them. You have the option to add bird sightings as you move on the trail using your phone’s GPS. This way you don’t have to stop, open the app and manually geo-tag every time you sight a bird.
Similar to the first app, this one is also managed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, which means that the data you’re viewing is top-notch and factually correct.
4. Song Sleuth
Best for – Detecting Birds with Sound
Developed by Wildlife Acoustics, Song Sleuth is touted the Shazam for birds, that’s it’ll tell you what bird species it’s with an audio sample.
The app also has Record and ID feature, so when you’re out and you hear a bird singing, simply record the song and the app will show you the most relatable birds with that sound. It shows the audio in the form of a spectrogram, so you compare your recording and example recording for better accuracy.
I did try to run some bird songs on YouTube, but it was more of a hit and miss. I still feel it’ll have better results on the field as you can use the audio editor in the app to isolate bird sound for better detection.
5. Chirp Birding
Best for – Social Network for Birders
If you’re a birder and you want to build a circle of fellow bird watchers, this one is a social networking app just for birders. You can sign in using and email or Facebook and the interface is similar to Facebook for mobile. You can set up your profile, send and receive friend requests and also like and comment on others post. The best part about this app is that once you have a circle you can create bird watching events, invite other people and do a lot more. This can be a great learning experience for both beginners and pro birdwatchers to exchange information.
If you don’t want to use other dedicated birdwatching apps like Merlin Bird or eBird, you can use the check-in feature in this app and create bird map for yourself.
Best for – Map View Sighting
Most of the Birding apps seem to be overly complicated and overloaded with information. GoBird exactly fills that gap. The best part of the app is the menu bar at the bottom. You can switch between a list view to photoshop view (maps) which shows you places around you where you can go birdwatching.
If the bird list and map view don’t satisfy you, the Rare bird section will surely do. It shows you user-generated data of rare bird sightings in your area along with pictures and general information.
So there are few apps which can help you when you go out next birding. While all the apps mentioned above can be used anywhere, apps that are specific to countries are also available on the app stores. Apps such as GoBried can help bird watchers keep a keen eye on only the bird native to their country or area. If you’re amateur or a pro birder, Merlin Bird ID should be your go-to choice.
Also read Best Astronomy Apps for iOS and Android